WHO declares `highest alert` over coronavirus outbreak
Published: 11:03 PM, 28 February 2020 Updated: 11:04 PM, 28 February 2020
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (Right)
The deadly coronavirus, which spreads from China to many countries around the world, raised fears of a pandemic. Although new cases declined in China it is plaguing pandemics in other parts of the world. It has spread to more than 40 countries in four continents of Asia, Europe, Africa and North America.
According to the latest data, the death toll rises to 2,859 from virus infection while 83, 826 people were infected with the virus. Of them, 8,081 people are in critical condition and 36, 723 cured.
Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s director of health emergencies, has explained that the global risk level of "very high" is the highest alert the organization can declare.
He said earlier that it would be "unhelpful" to declare a pandemic when the world was still trying to contain the virus.
"If we say there's a pandemic of coronavirus we're essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to that virus. The data does not support that as yet," he said.
The head of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said this when different countries of the world are fighting to prevent coronavirus infection.
The number of people infected with the new virus is increasing in many countries beyond China. In particular, Iran and Italy have become major hubs for the virus, and coronaviruses are spreading by travelers.
The rapid rise in coronavirus raised fears of a pandemic on Friday, with six countries reporting their first cases, the World Health Organization warning it could spread worldwide and Switzerland cancelling the giant Geneva car show.
Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has announced the suspension of Omarah and tourist visas to counter the risk of coronavirus.
Iran has the highest number of deaths outside of China. The death toll in the country rises to 34. Italy has the highest number of outbreaks outside Asia, with 12 deaths. In addition, eight people have died in Japan from the deadly virus.
Meanwhile, coronavirus spread quickly in South Korea after China. Here, 13 people died from the virus while 2,022 people infected with the virus.
Five more countries have reported their first case, all with travel history connected to Italy. They were Nigeria, Estonia, Denmark, Netherlands, and Lithuania, Lindmeier said.
Mexico also detected its first cases of infection in two men who had traveled to Italy, making the country the second in Latin America to register the virus after Brazil.
Countries other than China now account for about three-quarters of new infections.
US intelligence agencies are monitoring the spread of coronavirus in Iran and India, where only a handful of cases have been reported, sources said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States had offered to help Iran, raising doubts about its willingness to share information.
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