The World Health Organization now raises its assessment of the risk of spreading the covid-19 coronavirus to ‘very high’.
This happens after a development where Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Nigeria are the latest among 49 countries that have detected cases of the virus within two weeks.
“The continued increase in the number of cases, like the number of countries covered in recent days, is clearly worrying,” said Secretary General Tedros Ghebreyesus at a press conference in Geneva.
Our epidemiologists have been monitoring the development on an ongoing basis. And we have now increased our risk assessment in relation to a spread to ‘very high’ at global level.
This means that the WHO adapts the new assessment in its technical and operational guidance to the individual country.
‘We see linked epidemics’
Recent reports from China show that 78,959 in the country of origin of the virus have been diagnosed with the infection, while 2,791 have died as a result of the virus.
Outside of China, there are now 49 countries on the list with a total number of 4,351 infected and 79 deaths.
We are currently seeing epidemics associated with covid-19 in several countries, but most cases can still be traced back to known contact or clusters of infected, says Ghebreyesus.
He also confirmed that Denmark is one of 14 countries where a total of 24 cases of infection can be traced to Italy, which is by far the hardest hit by European countries.
From Iran, which, like Italy, is severely affected, 97 cases have been exported to 11 countries.
No ‘free spread’ yet
At the same time, the WHO Secretary-General states that there is no evidence yet that the virus is ‘spreading freely in communities’.
And as long as that is the case, there is still a chance to contain the virus if the chain of infection is broken:
It requires that action be taken to establish early cases of infection and to isolate and treat the infected and to trace their contact circles.
Despite the increasing prevalence of the coronavirus, the world organization denies that there is a worldwide pandemic.
If we say that there is a pandemic with coronavirus, then we basically accept that every single person on the planet is exposed to the virus. Data shows that we are not there yet, says WHO Director Mike Ryan.