The World Health Organization has warned against a global overreaction to the new coronavirus epidemic following panic-buying and event cancellations.
The death toll from the outbreak in China neared 1,900 on Tuesday. More than 72,000 people have been infected in China and hundreds more abroad. France on Saturday reported the first coronavirus death in Europe.
The outbreak has had a major impact on global economy, with China paralyzed by quarantine measures and major firms warning it could damage bottom lines.
The WHO stressed that the mortality rate remains relatively low: “This is a very serious outbreak and it has the potential to grow, but we need to balance that in terms of the number of people infected. Outside Hubei this epidemic is affecting a very, very tiny, tiny proportion of people”, said Michael Ryan, head of WHO’s health emergencies program.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention published a study, which finds that more than 80% of people infected had mild illness and the number of new infections seem to be falling since early this month.