Italy coronavirus deaths now stand at 7, with 220 people infected. Italian villages are now on lockdown in Europe's worst flare-up of COVID-19.
WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today says word "pandemic" does not yet fit the facts.
"We must focus on containment while preparing for a potential pandemic," he told reporters in Geneva, and says the world is not yet seeing an uncontained spread or large-scale deaths.
The epidemic in China peaked between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and has been declining since, the WHO said.
Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies program, told reporters it was still possible to contain the virus and that it might appear each year like the flu.
"The virus may settle down into an endemic pattern of transmission, into a seasonal pattern of transmission, or it could accelerate into a full-blown global pandemic," he said in Geneva on Monday. "And at this point, it is not possible to say which of those realities is going to happen."
The outbreak has spread beyond China's Hubei province to at least 29 countries or territories, with two dozen confirmed deaths, according to a Reuters tally.
Coronavirus kills seventh person in Italy, pandemic fears grip Wall Street [reuters]
If true, this revelation by Conte ("mismanagement of security 'protocols' in one hospital") can maybe justify the astonishing outbreak and rapid death toll of #Coronavirus in Northern Italy. Hospitals and GPs surgeries are the perfect scenarios for the virus to spread (and kill).
— Antonello Guerrera (@antoguerrera) February 24, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) February 24, 2020