GENEVA, February 12. /TASS/. The number of newly confirmed novel coronavirus cases in China has stabilized over the past week, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday.
"The number of newly confirmed cases reported from China has stabilized over the past week, but that must be interpreted with extreme caution. This outbreak could still go in any direction," he said.
The WHO chief said that the number of countries who reported the infection on their territory has also remained unchanged since February 4. Besides, out of the 48 newly confirmed cases confirmed on Tuesday outside China, 40 were detected on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which is now quarantined off Japan.
"We are in constant contact with the Japanese government, the International Maritime Organization, and the owner of the ship to protect the health of all passengers," he said. "Now we have three cruise ships that have experienced delayed port clearance or have been denied entry to ports, often without an evidence-based risk assessment."
"Together with the International Maritime Organization, we will issue a communique to all countries to respect the principle of "free pratique" for ships and the principle of proper care for all travelers, in accordance with the International Health Regulations," Ghebreyesus continued.
On February 11 and 12, Geneva hosts a two-day global forum aimed at establishing measures to fight the novel coronavirus. The forum brings together around 400 experts from across the world. The main goal of the forum is to identify knowledge gaps and research priorities in order to produce scientific information and medical products most needed to minimize the impact of the outbreak.
A team of experts from the Russian Health Ministry and the Federal Service for the Oversight of Consumer Protection and Welfare (Rospotrebnadzor) is taking part in the event.