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Coronavirus Outbreak: World Must Prepare For 'Potential Pandemic', Says WHO Chief

Representative image.

Representative image.

The World Health Organization said on Monday the outbreak of the deadly new coronavirus has peaked in China, where new cases have been declining since early February.

  • AFP
  • Last Updated: February 24, 2020, 10:09 PM IST
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Geneva: The World Health Organization chief on Monday warned countries to prepare for a "potential pandemic" of new coronavirus, calling the sudden increase in cases in Iran, Italy and South Korea "deeply concerning".

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also said, however, that a WHO joint mission to China that concluded on Monday found that the virus there "peaked" between January 23 and February 2 "and has been declining steadily since then".

"This virus can be contained. Indeed there are many countries that have done exactly that," he said, crediting the measures taken by China to lock down several cities for helping to prevent an even bigger spread.

The virus, first detected at the end of December, has killed more than 2,600 people so far -- mostly in China. The WHO has declared it a global health emergency but has stopped short of calling it a global pandemic.

"For the moment we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale deaths," Tedros told reporters in Geneva. He added, however, that countries should be "doing everything we can to prepare for a potential pandemic.

"What we see are epidemics in different parts of the world affecting countries in different ways and requiring a tailored response," he said. Michael Ryan, head of WHO's health emergencies programme, said a WHO team had arrived in Italy on Monday and another was expected in Iran on Tuesday.

Ryan also cautioned over the apparent high mortality rate in Iran, where the government has reported 64 infections and 12 deaths, saying that "we may only be detecting severe cases".

He said "the virus may have been there longer than we had previously suspected", adding that transmission might have occurred through events such as religious festivals.

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India

  • Active Cases

    3,851

     
  • Total Confirmed

    4,281

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    318

     
  • Total DEATHS

    111

     
Data Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India
Updated: April 06 (06:00 PM)
Hospitals & Testing centres

World

  • Active Cases

    992,676

     
  • Total Confirmed

    1,345,751

     
  • Cured/Discharged

    278,428

     
  • Total DEATHS

    74,647

     
Data Source: Johns Hopkins University, U.S. (www.jhu.edu)
Hospitals & Testing centres