The impact and risk of the spread of the novel coronavirus is now at a global level, the World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General, Tedros Adhanom has said.
“The continued increase in the number of 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 the impact of COVID19 to very high at a global level,” Mr. Adhanom said in his opening remarks at a media briefing on the coronavirus.
Mr. Adhanom was however quick to add that there is a “chance of containing this virus if robust action is taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients and trace contacts.”
Cases of so far
The WHO Director General said, “as of 6am Geneva time this morning, China has reported a total of 78,959 cases of COVID-19 to WHO, including 2791 deaths.”
Outside China, there are now 4351 cases in 49 countries and 67 deaths.
Since yesterday, Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands and Nigeria have all reported their first cases. All these cases have links to Italy.
24 cases have been exported from Italy to 14 countries, and 97 cases have been exported from Iran to 11 countries.
The novel coronavirus is caused by a member of the coronavirus family that has never been encountered before.
Like other coronaviruses, it comes from animals and many of the first cases were of people who either worked or frequently shopped in the Huanan seafood wholesale market in the centre of Wuhan.
The novel coronavirus is airborne and symptoms begin to manifest after 14 days.
A person could transmit the disease before symptoms begin to manifest.
Precautions recommended include regular hand washing, using a hand sanitizer, using a nose mask and avoiding contact or proximity with infected persons.
The fatality rate of the virus has not been officially determined but it is thought to be around 2 percent.
A recent study published in a medical journal revealed that the average age of a coronavirus patient is 55 years old.
Also, 80 percent of those who have died from the disease were aged 60 or above.
A majority of the fatalities had preexisting health conditions.