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Coronavirus: WHO says risk of “pandemic”

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The Director-General of WHO called on Monday to prepare for a “possible pandemic” of the new coronavirus, deeming “very worrying (…) the sudden increase” in new cases in Italy , South Korea and Iran.

However, the epidemic has receded in China, where the new coronavirus emerged in late December and where 77,000 people have been infected since.

Virus WHO says risk of pandemic but decline of the epidemic in China
File AFP

Experts from the WHO joint mission to several Chinese provinces, including Wuhan, the epicenter of the epidemic, found that the Covid-19 epidemic has reached China “a peak, followed between January 23 and February 2, and that it has been declining ever since, “the head of the United Nations specialized agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, told reporters.

“This should give countries hope that this virus can be contained,” he said, once again welcoming the drastic measures taken by China where tens of millions of people have been living confined for weeks.

Elsewhere in the world, the epidemic of viral pneumonia accelerated on Monday, with reports rising sharply from South Korea to Iran, which now register the highest number of cases of contamination and deaths outside of China.

“We must focus on containment (of the epidemic, note), while doing everything we can to prepare for a possible pandemic,” assured Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

“The sudden increase in the number of cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea is very worrying,” added the head of the WHO, who is to travel to Tehran on Tuesday with experts.

In Europe, Italy, which now has five dead, has become the first country on the continent to set up a cordon cordon around ten cities in the North.

Italy, which went from 6 to 219 cases in four days, is the most affected country in Europe and the third in the world after South Korea and China.

“We have to understand the dynamics of the epidemic in Iran. It will take a few days, a team will arrive in Iran tomorrow,” said Dr Michael Ryan, director of the WHO Emergency Program, to the media.

Scientifically speaking, the joint mission to China also showed that “there has been no significant change in the DNA of the coronavirus,” said Dr. Tedros.

As for the death rate in China, it is 0.7%, and is between 2 and 4% in Wuhan, he detailed.

Experts have also found that people who have been infected but do not suffer from severe symptoms have a healing time of about two weeks, while those who are severely affected recover within three to six weeks, he explained.

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