The World Health Organization on Friday increased its coronavirus risk assessment to “very high” as cases outside of China continue to increase. But officials caution the virus can still be contained if the chain of transmission can be broken.
“We are on the highest level of alert or highest level of risk assessment in terms of spread and in terms of impact,” said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergencies program. He said the designation was not meant to alarm or scare people, but to alert every country to be vigilant.
“This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready,” he said. “This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready.”