WHO urges countries to make containing coronavirus 'highest priority'

FILE PHOTO: Director-General of the WHO Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, attends a news conference on the coronavirus (COVID-2019) in Geneva, Switzerland February 24, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) – All countries should make containing the outbreak of COVID-19 their top priority, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The U.N. agency stressed that fighting the epidemic requires countries to work together, and praised Iran for “switching on” to the coronavirus outbreak there and taking a fresh “all of government approach”.

“We are now on the verge of reaching 100,000 confirmed cases,” the WHO’s director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a briefing. “It (the epidemic) is geographically expanding and deeply concerning.”

“We are continuing to recommend that all countries make containment their highest priority,” he added.

In fact the tally of cases has already surpassed 100,000 — as the WHO’s figures have generally slightly lagged behind tallies compiled by news organizations including Reuters. As of Friday, more than 100,300 people have been infected globally, according to a Reuters tally based on statements from health ministries and government officials.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay and Kate Kelland; Editing by Alison Williams

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