Threat of coronavirus pandemic ‘very real’: WHO director

The threat of the novel coronavirus becoming a pandemic is very real, the World Health Organization said, though it’s still shying away from making a declaration.

“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” said WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a press conference Monday.

According to the WHO, cases of COVID-19 have been found in more than 100 countries. Many countries have reported only travel-related cases or have a handful of cases, however in a few — notably Iran, Italy and South Korea — the virus appears to be spreading throughout the community.

In total, there are more than 111,000 cases worldwide, according to data compiled by researchers at Johns Hopkins University. There are currently 71 confirmed and presumptive cases in Canada, officials said Monday.

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