The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that its greatest coronavirus concerns were South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan, but that it was still possible for all countries to contain the virus.
In the previous 24 hours, almost nine times as many coronavirus cases were reported outside China as inside, but WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the spread could be halted - unlike seasonal influenza.
“We are in uncharted territory - we have never seen before a respiratory pathogen that is capable of community transmission but at same time which can also be contained with the right measures,” Tedros told a news conference in Geneva.
“If this was an influenza epidemic, we would have expected to see widespread community transmission across the globe by now and efforts to slow it down or contain it would not be feasible.
“But containment of COVID is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries.”
The number of COVID-19 cases in China continues to decline and on Sunday it reported 206 new infections, the lowest since Jan. 22, he said. China has reported some 80,000 since the outbreak began.