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Human spread of virus in three countries outside China worrying: WHO chief

Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks during a news conference on the situation of the coronavirus at the United Nations, in Geneva, Switzerland, January 29, 2020. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) – The person-to-person spread of the new coronavirus in three countries – Germany, Vietnam and Japan – is worrying and will be considered by experts reconvened to consider declaring a global emergency, the World Health Organization said on Wednesday.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, speaking to a news conference in Geneva on return from China, said of his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping: “I was very encouraged and impressed by the President’s detailed knowledge of the outbreak and his personal involvement in the outbreak, this for me is real leadership”.

Tedros, asked about an international team agreed to be sent to China, said it would be composed of WHO staff and countries should make “bilateral arrangements” to send their own experts. He would like to reform the current system for declaring international emergencies to have a three-phase system.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by Emma Farge

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