Coronavirus outbreak: World Health Organization provides update as death toll surpasses 900

The World Health Organization (WHO) provided an update on Monday, Feb. 10 on the novel coronavirus as the illness was confirmed to have killed more than 900 people in China.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that while the number of deaths from the new novel coronavirus had increased to 909 in China as of 6 a.m. in Geneva, Switzerland, the pattern of the illness had not changed with 99 per cent of cases being in China with most being mild. He said two per cent are still fatal, which is “still too many.”

Emergencies Programme executive director Michael Ryan said that the expert team sent to China, led by Canadian Dr. Bruce Aylward, would be seeking a better understanding of the origins of the virus, the severity and any updates from the Chinese investigations. Ghebreyesus added the aim of the research forum taking place this Tuesday and Wednesday is to chart a path forward on the next steps in combating the virus.

Ghebreyesus said there were concerns of recent cases of transmission among people with no recent travel history to China, saying it could be the “spark that becomes a bigger fire,” but that it’s only a spark right now and their main focus is containment.

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