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COVID-19 epidemic at ‘decisive point’: WHO chief

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GENEVA: The new coronavirus epidemic is at a "decisive point" globally, World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday (Feb 27), urging affected countries to "move swiftly" to contain the disease.

"We're at a decisive point," Tedros told reporters in Geneva.

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Pointing to a decline in new cases in China, Tedros said: "It's what's happening in the rest of the world that's now our greatest concern".

READ: China reports 29 more COVID-19 deaths, lowest since January

Explore: Real-time interactive map of all the confirmed cases reported around the world

Urging countries at the early stages of the outbreak of the COVID-19 disease to "move swiftly", he added: "If you act aggressively now, you can contain this virus, you can prevent people getting sick, you can save lives."

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"There does not appear to be widespread community transmission," he added.

Tedros emphasised that all countries should ensure that their health systems were prepared for an outbreak.

"We are actually in a very delicate situation in which the outbreak can go in any direction based on how we handle it," Tedros said.

"No country should assume it won't get cases, that would be a fatal mistake, quite literally," he added.

TRUMP 'RIGHT' TO ADVISE PEOPLE TO TAKE PREVENTIVE MEASURES

Tedros said US President Donald Trump was "right" to advise people to take preventive measures against the coronavirus similar to those against flu, including frequent hand washing.

Trump had on Wednesday advised people worried about the coronavirus to be a germophobe like him.

"I do it a lot anyway as you've probably heard," he told a press conference in the White House, triggering laughter.

"Wash your hands, stay clean. You don't have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to," Trump said. "When somebody sneezes, I try to bail out."

READ: Trump says risk of COVID-19 in US 'very low'

WHO officials said they were working closely with organisers of the Tokyo Olympic Games this year and did not believe any decision woulRead More – Source

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