WHO: Nine times as many new coronavirus cases outside China than inside

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World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus

There were almost nine times more cases of coronavirus reported outside China in the past 24 hours than within that country, according to the World Health Organization.

During a press briefing, World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the epidemics in Italy, the Republic of Korea, Iran and Japan “are our greatest concern.”

Yesterday, China reported 206 cases of COVID-19 to WHO, the lowest since mid-January. Only eight cases were reported outside Hubei province, the center of the outbreak, yesterday.

But outside China, a total of 8,739 new cases have been reported to WHO from 61 countries, with 127 deaths. South Korea has now reported more than 4,200 cases and 22 deaths, meaning it has more than half of all cases outside China, Tedros said.

However, Tedros noted that Korea’s surveillance efforts are working, since the cases appear to be coming from five known clusters rather than the community as a whole. Collectively, South Korea has reportedly screened more than 100,000 people, far more than other countries. 

In the U.S., two deaths from the coronavirus were reported over the weekend, and the federal government has confirmed 87 total cases. However, testing has been far slower than other countries and the total number of cases might be far larger. 

The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have recently begun the process of ramping up testing, but the agencies have been criticized for a sluggish response to the outbreak. 

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