February 26, 2020 / 11:47 AM / a month ago

Coronavirus spread 'deeply concerning' but not a pandemic - WHO's Tedros

GENEVA, Feb 26 (Reuters) - The sudden rise in cases of novel coronavirus in Italy, Iran and South Korea is “deeply concerning”, but the virus can still be contained and does not amount to a pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) chief said on Wednesday.

“Using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma, and paralysing systems. It may also signal that we can no longer contain the virus, which is not true,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in remarks to Geneva-based diplomats.

He also said that a WHO mission to Iran - which was initially supposed to go to the Islamic Republic on Tuesday - would now travel at the weekend.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Andrew Heavens

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