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WHO Concerned About Coronavirus Spread In Iran, Other Countries


Coronavirus concerns In Iran amid elections. February 21, 2020

The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the opportunity to contain the COVID-19 virus could be coming to an end if countries do not mobilize more quickly.

"We are still in a phase where containment is possible," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on February 21. "Our window of opportunity is narrowing."

He said it was "very concerning" that Iran had reported 18 cases and four deaths in just the past two days, adding that the WHO was supplying testing kits to Tehran.

Tedros, asked whether sanctions imposed on Iran for its nuclear program might hamper delivery of medical aid, said: "Emergency situations are excluded."

The WHO warning came amid new reports of infections across the Middle East and in South Korea earlier in the day.

He said the newly reported cases in countries such as Lebanon and Canada could mean the outbreak, which began in December, has reached a "tipping point."

"This outbreak could go in any direction," Tedros said. "It could even be messy."

He said the newly reported cases in countries such as Lebanon and Canada could mean the outbreak, which began in December, has reached a "tipping point."

The illness caused by the COVID-19 virus has already killed more than 2,200 people and infected about 75,000 in China. Beijing reported 118 new deaths on February 21.

Iran said on February 21 that four people there had died and 18 infections had been reported. South Korea has reported 204 infection cases, making it the hardest-hit country after China.

Not including China, there have been 1,151 reported infections and eight fatalities reported in 26 countries around the world.

Tedos said the WHO is concerned about cases around the world that have "no clear epidemiological link" to the outbreak in China.

A WHO team of experts is scheduled to visit Wuhan, China, the epicenter of the outbreak, on February 22.

Based on reporting by Reuters, AP, and dpa

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