Coronavirus risk at very high global level warns World Health Organisation

The risk of spread and impact of the coronavirus is now "very high" at a global level, the highest level of alarm, but containment is still possible, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it would be a "big mistake" to switch from a public health strategy of containment to mitigation, where authorities accept the virus is spreading.

In the last few days, 24 cases had been exported from Italy to 14 countries and 97 cases had been exported from Iran to 11 countries, Tedros said.

WHO Executive Director Michael J. Ryan said that "interrupting transmission gives us an opportunity to stop the virus and allows us to get ready and to prepare".

China's 329 reported cases in the past 24 hours was the lowest there in more than a month.