Coronavirus: we're only seeing 'the tip of the iceberg'

Coronavirus: we're only seeing 'the tip of the iceberg'
A third demand is sufficient hospital and treatment capacity should there be patients. Credit: Belga

The expansion of the new coronavirus outside of China might increase with the transmission of the disease by people who have never travelled to this country, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General warned on Sunday.

“There have been disturbing cases of #2019nCoV spreading through people with no travel history to China,” tweeted Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, using the provisional scientific name of the virus.

"The detection of a small number of cases may indicate a more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may be seeing only the tip of the iceberg," the Ethiopian said.

While the expansion of the epidemic outside China seems rather measured, Ghebreyesus has warned that it could accelerate: "Containment (of the virus) remains our aim, but all countries must take advantage of the containment strategy to prepare for the possible arrival of the virus."

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Outside of mainland China, more than 350 patients were listed in thirty countries and territories, with two deaths, the first in the Philippines, the second in Hong Kong.

Several countries have banned Chinese arrivals and major airlines have suspended flights in connection with this country. Air China has cancelled some of its flights to the United States.

In mainland China, the new coronavirus has killed 908 persons, and the number of infected people exceeds 40,000, according to the authorities’ update given on Monday.

A WHO mission of international experts led by Bruce Aylward, a veteran who has been part of other health emergencies, left Sunday night for China, where he plans to help coordinate a response to the health crisis triggered at the end of 2019 in the city of Wuhan (central China).

The Brussels Times

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