The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO), Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has warned that confirmed cases of coronavirus being transmitted by people who have never travelled to China could be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Ghebreyesus’s 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.
In a series of tweets, the WHO boss disclosed that Coronavirus was spotted spreading from people with no recent travels to China on record.
He warned that it could mean that the actual number of people infected with the Wuhan virus outside China, could be way higher than reported.
“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward #2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to (China),” Tedros tweeted.
“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.”
While the spread of the virus outside China appeared to be slow, Tedros warned it could accelerate.
“Containment remains our objective, but all countries must use the window of opportunity created by the containment strategy to prepare for the virus’s possible arrival,” he said.
Outside mainland China, there have been more than 350 infections reported in nearly 30 places. There have been two deaths, one in the Philippines and the other in Hong Kong.
Several countries have banned arrivals from China while major airlines have suspended flights, and Air China cancelled some of its flights to the United States.
Meanwhile, KanyiDaily had reported that the Chinese Doctor who discovered coronavirus while treating some of his patients and was punished for warning his friends about the deadly virus, has died.
34-year-old ophthalmologist, Doctor Li Wenliang sent a warning to about seven sick patients in quarantine at his hospital last year via a group chat with friends.
Soon, screenshots of his messages went viral and his name was clearly visible.
He was arrested by the police and forced to sign a statement that he commited a crime and was warned to desist from spreading the news.