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Risk of spread of COVID-19 "very high" globally, WHO chief says

The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the risk of spread and impact of the cor...
Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.05 28 Feb 2020


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Risk of spread of COVID-19 &qu...

Risk of spread of COVID-19 "very high" globally, WHO chief says

Jack Quann
Jack Quann

16.05 28 Feb 2020


Share this article


The head of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said the risk of spread and impact of the coronavuirus is now "very high at a global level".

Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus made the announcement as part of a daily media briefing in Geneva on Friday.

In the past 24 hours, China has reported 329 COVID-19 cases, the lowest in over a month.

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As of Friday morning, China reported a total of 78,959 cases to the WHO - including 2,791 deaths.

Outside China, there are 4,351 cases in 49 countries and 67 deaths.

This total includes one person from Northern Ireland, who travelled through Dublin Airport from Italy.

However the Department of Health said it has contacted everyone who was in close contact with the woman.

She is believed to be a Belfast resident and is being treated in isolation there.

Meanwhile, Iarnr√≥d √Čireann has confirmed that it carried out a full deep clean of the Dublin to Belfast Enterprise train service overnight.

It is not clear how the woman travelled from Dublin to Belfast and the train service carried out the clean as a precaution.

COVID-19 Coronavirus cases around the globe, as reported by Johns Hopkins University in the US | Source: Johns Hopkins University

Dr Ghebreyesus said: "The continued increase in the number of COVID-19 cases, and the number of affected countries over the last few days, are clearly of concern".

"Our epidemiologists have been monitoring these developments continuously, and we have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at a global level".

"What we see at the moment are linked epidemics of COVID-19 in several countries, but most cases can still be traced to known contacts or clusters of cases.

"We do not see evidence as yet that the virus is spreading freely in communities.

"As long as that's the case, we still have a chance of containing this coronavirus, if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts".

"As I said yesterday, there are different scenarios in different countries, and different scenarios within the same country.

"The key to containing this coronavirus is to break the chains of transmission".

He added: "More than 20 vaccines are in development globally, and several therapeutics are in clinical trials. We expect the first results in a few weeks.

"But we don't need to wait for vaccines and therapeutics. There are things every individual can do to protect themselves and others today.

"Your risk depends on where you live, your age and general health.

"WHO can provide general guidance. You should also follow your national guidance and consult local health professionals."

"Together, we are powerful. Containment starts with you.

"Our greatest enemy right now is not the virus itself. It's fear, rumours and stigma.

"And our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity."

More information on the coronavirus can be found here


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Belfast Enterprise Train Service Coronavuirus Covid-19 Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus Dublin Airport Geneva Iarnrod Eireann Northern Ireland Very High WHO

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