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Coronavirus: Threat of pandemic now ‘very real’, WHO warns

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Coronavirus: Threat of pandemic now ‘very real’, WHO warns

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UN health agency chief says it would be first pandemic in history which could be controlled

The threat of coronavirus becoming a pandemic is now “very real”, ​the World Health Organisation has warned.

The UN health agency’s director general suggested the virus gaining “a foothold in so many countries” meant the risk of a pandemic had increased.

But, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled, adding: “The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus.”

He urged governments dealing with outbreaks to focus on both containment and mitigation to stop the spread of the virus.

The warning came hours after Boris Johnson and health minister Matt Hancock insisted the UK – now home to 319 confirmed cases – is still in the “containment” phase, the first of three in Whitehall’s action plan of contain, delay and mitigate.

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