The World Health Organization (WHO) has raised to “very high” the international risk of the novel coronavirus, as the number of people infected zoomed up to 83,000 in nearly 60 countries.
“We have now increased our assessment of the risk of spread and the risk of impact of COVID-19 to very high at global level,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in Geneva, Switzerland on February 29 .
The new virus first emerged in China’s central city of Wuhan in Hubei province in late 2019. The death toll from the coronavirus in mainland China was at 2,788 as of Friday, February 28, 2020.
“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 virus,” he said.
“The key to containing this virus is to break the chain of transmission,” he said, emphasizing the importance of individuals taking precautions to stop contagion.
“Our greatest enemy is not the virus itself, it’s fear, rumors and stigma and our greatest assets are facts, reason and solidarity,” he said.
Tedros also said more than 20 vaccines were in development globally and several treatments were in clinical trials with results expected “in a few weeks.”