On Monday, the head of the World Health Organization expressed deep concern as the death toll in China from the deadly Coronavirus outbreak rose to at least 900.  The Director-General of the WHO, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there have been “concerning instances” of coronavirus being transmitted among people who have never travelled to China. He warned that it could be the  “tip of the iceberg” and urged all the countries to get prepared for the possible arrival of the novel virus. 

“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward 2019nCoV 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,”

Ghebreyesus praised all the doctors, nurses and health workers who are doing “their utmost” at personal risk to contain the epidemic and called them “true heroes”. Millions of people are under lockdown to prevent the deadly virus from spreading in Wuhan where the outbreak was first surfaced in December. His remarks come as members of a WHO-led “international expert mission” flew to China on Monday to help coordinate a response to the outbreak that has so far infected more than 40,000 people and killed 908 in the country so far.

“In an evolving public health emergency, all countries must step up efforts to prepare for #2019nCoV’s possible arrival and do their utmost to contain it should it arrive. This means lab capacity for rapid diagnosis, contact tracing and other tools in the public health arsenal,” he tweeted. 

Apart from China, there have been more than 350 infections reported in nearly 30 places. On Monday, China’s National Health Commission said a total of 908 people have died, and 40,171 confirmed cases so far. The epidemic has caused a massive disruption in China after Communist party rulers ordered virtual lockdowns, cancelled flights, closed factories and suspended schools. 

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