New York City Mayor Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric AdamsREUTERS/Andrew Kelly

New York City on Saturday night declared the monkeypox disease a "public health emergency", CBS News reported.

The move was announced in a joint statement from New York City Mayor Eric Adams and city Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan.

"New York City is currently the epicenter of the outbreak, and we estimate that approximately 150,000 New Yorkers may currently be at risk for monkeypox exposure," the statement read.

"We will continue to work with our federal partners to secure more doses as soon as they become available. This outbreak must be met with urgency, action, and resources, both nationally and globally, and this declaration of a public health emergency reflects the seriousness of the moment," it added.

The declaration will give Vasan and the health department the ability to issue emergency orders and "amend provisions of the Health Code to provide for measures to help slow the spread."

As of Friday, the state of New York has recorded at least 1,383 confirmed cases of monkeypox, according to the state's department of health. Of those, a staggering 1,289 cases are in New York City, the city's department of health said.

At least 5,189 cases have been confirmed nationwide, according to the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Saturday night’s announcement comes one day after New York Gov. Kathy Hochul issued an executive order declaring a state disaster emergency, saying "more than one in four monkeypox cases in this country" are in the state.

Among several other actions, the governor's order expands the number of people eligible to administer monkeypox vaccines, requires providers to send vaccine data to the state's health department and will boost ongoing response efforts including efforts to get more vaccines and expand testing capacity, the governor's office said.

The World Health Organization last week declared that the monkeypox outbreak is a global health emergency.

This is highest alert that can be issued by the WHO and it comes following a worldwide upsurge in cases.