International

Coronavirus: ‘Narrowing window’ to contain outbreak, WHO says

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed concern at the number of coronavirus cases with no clear link to China or other confirmed cases.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the window of opportunity to contain the virus was “narrowing”.

Chinese health authorities reported a decrease in deaths and new cases of the coronavirus on Saturday.

But cases are on the rise in South Korea, Italy, Iran and other countries.

Outside China, more than 1,200 cases of the virus have been confirmed in 26 countries and there have been eight deaths, the WHO says.

They include two deaths in South Korea, which has the biggest cluster of confirmed cases apart from China and a cruise ship quarantined in Japan.

On Saturday, South Korea reported 142 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, bringing the national tally to 346.

An evacuation flight carrying 32 British and other European passengers has taken off from Japan and is due to land in England later on Saturday.

On Friday, doctors in Italy said a 78-year-old man became the first person in the country to die from the new coronavirus, Ansa news agency reported.

Earlier Italy had announced 16 more cases and its health minister said schools and offices would be closed and sports events cancelled in the affected regions.

China has reported 76,288 cases including 2,345 deaths. The new virus, which originated last year in Hubei province in China, causes a respiratory disease called Covid-19. BBC