It is “way too early” to predict the end of the coronavirus epidemic despite an apparent slowdown in the number of new cases in China, the World Health Organization (WHO) says.
“This outbreak could still go in any direction,” WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus warned.
Earlier, China reported its lowest daily number of new coronavirus cases – 2,015 – for two weeks.
The virus has killed more than 1,100 people and infected 44,600.
The number of new daily infections reported by Chinese authorities hit a peak last week at close to 4,000.
The WHO has been able to track down the source of transmission in all but eight of the 441 cases of the virus outside China, its head of emergencies Michael Ryan said.
He said that the apparent stabilisation in the number of new cases in China and the slower spread of cases outside Hubei province – where the virus first emerged – was reassuring.
“[That] is to a great extent due to a huge public health operation in China,” he said.
But he added: “I think it’s way too early to try to predict the beginning, the middle or the end of this epidemic right now.”
Contributed by HE Prof Colin O Jarrett
Director of News and Current Affairs