GENEVA: WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that the world is at a "decisive point" to contain the deadly coronavirus outbreak as new cases continue to erupt outside China and have now outnumbered the new cases of the novel virus in the mainland.
"We are at a decisive point," Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organisation (WHO) was quoted as saying by Xinhua news agency on Thursday. "For the past two days, the number of new cases reported in the rest of the world has exceeded the number of new cases in China."
"And in the past 24 hours, seven countries have reported cases for the first time: Brazil, Georgia, Greece, North Macedonia, Norway, Pakistan and Romania," he added.
The WHO chief explained that by referring it as a "decisive point," he was underlining each side of a coin.
On the positive side, he said, there's the signal that "when you do containment measure like China is doing, you can actually see a decline in the cases and ultimately it can be contained".
On the opposite side, the rise of cases in other parts of the world, especially in Iran, Italy and South Korea, is bad news, he said.
"Then the two (sides) combined, it shows that we are actually in a very delicate situation where the outbreak can go in any direction, based on how we handle it," he cautioned.
The WHO chief reiterated his involve all countries to act aggressively and swiftly. "Aggressive, early measures can prevent transmission before the virus gets a foothold," he said.