French health minister: risk of coronavirus pandemic is “credible”
French health minister Olivier Veran said on Tuesday there is a “credible risk” China’s coronavirus outbreak could turn into a pandemic, spreading across the world. “This is both a working assumption and a credible risk,” Veran told France Info radio.
Earlier today the director of a hospital in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the centre of the epidemic, died from the new virus.
Four patients who tested positive for the virus remained in hospital in France, he added. An 80-year-old Chinese tourist died from the coronavirus in France last week, the first fatality in Europe.
In China the death toll has climbed to 1,868.
According to the World Health Organization, a pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease.
On Monday, the head of the WHO’s emergencies program, Dr. Mike Ryan, said when asked whether the outbreak was a pandemic: “The real issue is whether we are seeing efficient community transmission outside of China and at the present time we are not observing that.”
However, according to WHO, the number of new coronavirus infections in China appears to be declining, though it is too early to tell if the reported decline would continue.