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WHO Expresses Worry as Coronavirus Starts Spreading Among People With No Travel History to China

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  • Speaking about the novel coronavirus, World Health Organization’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned we may only be seeing “the tip of the iceberg.”
  • The official made the comment after confirming that there have been cases of the virus among people “with no travel history to China.”
  • Countries should continue with containment but additionally, they should also “step up their efforts”to prevent the spread of the virus, Ghebreyesus said.

As medical workers struggle to contain the global problem caused by the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019), a top official from the World Health Organization has expressed concerns that there is still much we do not know about the dreaded viral disease. In fact, he said we may only be seeing the “tip of the iceberg” at a moment.

In a post on Twitter, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of WHO, said that we currently have confirmed cases of people who have been infected by the disease despite never having been to China, the birthplace of the new virus.

We’re probably seeing just “the tip of the iceberg,” according to the head of World Health Organization.

Ghebreyesus tweeted:

“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward (coronavirus) spread from people with no travel history to (China). The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

The statement follows after WHO members traveled to China for an “international expert mission” under the leadership of Bruce Aylward, who also led WHO’s 2-year effort against Ebola virus in West Africa from 2014 to 2016.

Earlier, the organization has also declared the spreading disease as a “global health emergency” and things could still possibly get worse in the near future.

Currently, many countries have implemented travel bans to and from China to prevent further spread of the virus. The disease has already claimed more than 900 lives, reported CNN, making it deadlier than SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) which killed 774 between 2002 to 2003.


While containment is still the main goal, Ghebreyesus likewise added that all nations should “step up efforts to prepare for (coronavirus’) possible arrival and do their utmost to contain it should it arrive.” This, the official explained, means “lab capacity for rapid diagnosis, contact tracing and other tools in the public health arsenal.”

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