WHO WARNS COVID-19, IS 'PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1' AND POTENTIALLY MORE POWERFUL THAN TERRORISM

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

"If the world doesn't want to wake up and consider this enemy virus as public enemy number 1, I don't think we will learn from our lessons."

• Steve Walsh, 53, unwittingly infected 11 other people with coronavirus after catching the disease in Singapore before travelling to a French ski resort, and then returning to his hometown of Hove on the English coast.

• It is believed six of the eight cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom are linked to him.

• In a statement released by Guy's Hospital in London, Mr Walsh thanked the National Health Service for its help and care.

• "As soon as I knew I had been exposed to a confirmed case of coronavirus I contacted my GP, NHS 111 and Public Health England," he said.


WORLD HEALTH ORGANISATION (WHO) CHIEF, DR. TEDROS ADHANOM GHEBREYESUS

The first vaccine targeting the new coronavirus could be 18 months away, and the outbreak could end up creating a global threat potentially worse than terrorism, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva the vaccine lag meant "we have to do everything today using available weapons" and said the epidemic posed a "very grave threat".


"IF THE WORLD DOESN'T WANT TO WAKE UP AND CONSIDER THIS ENEMY VIRUS AS PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER 1, I DON'T THINK WE WILL LEARN FROM OUR LESSONS."

"To be honest, a virus is more powerful in creating political, economic and social upheaval than any terrorist attack," Dr Ghebreyesus said.


"A virus can have more powerful consequences than any terrorist action.


The coronavirus has claimed the lives of 1,017 people in mainland China, where there were 42,708 cases.


Only 319 cases have been confirmed in 24 other countries and territories outside mainland China, with two deaths: one in Hong Kong and the other in the Philippines.


Dr Ghebreyesus said the virus had been named COVID-19, explaining that it was important to avoid stigma and that other names could be inaccurate.


He urged countries to step up measures to detect and contain the virus, especially in at least 30 countries with weaker health systems, where it could "create havoc".


"With 99 per cent of cases in China, this remains very much an emergency for that country, but one that holds a very grave threat for the rest of the world," he said.


He referred to "some concerning instances of onward transmission from people with no travel history to China", citing cases this week in France and Britain.


"The detection of this small number of cases could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire. But for now it's only a spark. Our objective remains containment," he said.


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