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WHO: New cases of virus suggest human transmission

By WANG XIAODONG | | Updated: 2020-01-21 20:05
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Newly reported infections of the coronavirus that has been causing an increasing number of pneumonia cases in China suggest that there may now be sustained human-to-human transmission, but more analysis of the epidemiological data is needed to understand the full extent of human-to-human transmission, the World Health Organization said in a statement on Tuesday.

"It is clear from the latest information that there is at least some human-to-human transmission. Infections among healthcare workers strengthen the evidence for this," WHO China said. "In addition, information about newly reported infections suggests there may now be sustained human-to-human transmission. However, we still need more analysis of the epidemiological data to understand the full extent of human-to-human transmission."

Given travel patterns and increased testing, more cases of the virus, 2019-nCOV, should be expected in other parts of China and possibly other countries in coming days, it said.

The Chinese government is sharing information regularly and working closely with the WHO, it said, adding a team of WHO experts are working with health officials in Wuhan on the response to 2019-nCOV.

"The WHO encourages all countries to continue preparedness activities. We have issued interim guidance on how to do this and continue to update this information in consultation with experts across the globe," it said.

Although much remains to be understood about 2019-nCoV, including how it is transmitted, clinical features of the disease, its severity, the extent to which it has spread or its source, progress is underway, it said.

"The WHO is working closely with the Chinese government and the governments of other affected counties," it said.

The WHO director-general will convene an Emergency Committee on 2019-nCoV under the International Health Regulations on Wednesday to assess if the situation constitutes a public health emergency of international concern, and what recommendations should be put in place, WHO China said.

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