The head of the World Health Organization has warned that confirmed cases of coronavirus being transmitted by people who have never travelled to China could be the “tip of the iceberg”.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ remarks come as members of a WHO-led “international expert mission” flew to China on Monday to help coordinate a response to the outbreak that has so far infected more than 40,000 people and killed 908 in the country.
“There’ve been some concerning instances of onward #2019nCoV spread from people with no travel history to (China),” Ghebreyesus tweeted Sunday, using the virus’s provisional scientific name.
“The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries; in short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”
While the virus’ spread outside China appeared to be slow, Ghebreyesus warned it could accelerate.