January 24, 2020 / 11:28 AM / 25 days ago

WHO expects coronavirus cases to rise in China

A World Health Organization (WHO) flag is seen outside its China office in Beijing, China January 23, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Lee

GENEVA (Reuters) - Cases of the new coronavirus are likely to continue to rise in China and it is too soon to evaluate its severity, a spokesman for the World Health Organisation (WHO) said on Friday.

“The focus is not so much on the (case) numbers, which we know will go up,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic told a Geneva news briefing, adding that Chinese health authorities had officially reported 830 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. “It’s still too early to draw conclusions on how severe the virus is.”

The WHO and its network of experts may look at treatments and vaccines against MERS for possible use against coronavirus, he said.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Kevin Liffey

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