WHO chief expresses concern over coronavirus spread from people with no China travel history


  • World
  • Monday, 10 Feb 2020

World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says in an "evolving public health emergency", he calls on all countries to step up efforts to prepare for the coronavirus's possible arrival. - PHOTO: REUTERS

GENEVA (BLOOMBERG) - World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says in a tweet on Sunday (Feb 9) that there have been concerning instances of coronavirus being spread from people with no travel history to China, saying "we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg" when it comes to the virus.

"The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries," he says in a tweet.

The WHO chief says in an "evolving public health emergency", he calls on all countries to step up efforts to prepare for the coronavirus's possible arrival.

Donors have contributed toward the WHO's efforts and those directed at vulnerable countries, he says, but the organisation hasn't reached its goal of US$675 million (S$939 million) to fight the coronavirus.

Meanwhile, an advance team of WHO experts has left for Beijing to investigate China's coronavirus epidemic, the Geneva-based agency said on Sunday.

Tedros, who made a trip to Beijing for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Chinese ministers in late January, returned with an agreement on sending an international mission.

But it has taken nearly two weeks to get the government's green light on its composition, which was not announced, other than to say that WHO veteran Dr Bruce Aylward, a Canadian epidemiologist and emergencies expert, was heading it.

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