Coronavirus alert: WHO reveals ‘major protective’ measure people can take to combat virus

The EU has announced it’s mobilising more than €230million (£193million) to help the fight against coronavirus, or COVID-19. The World Health Organisation has not yet declared a pandemic, but may be close to doing so. WHO spokesperson Margaret Harris spoke to BBC’s Today show, revealing the “major protective” method that everyone can use to prevent the further spread of the outbreak.

Ms Harris told Radio 4: “There are possibilities that people could be shedding virus so you do need to then ensure that people understand that the main way in which it spreads is probably from hands to face, nose and mouth.

“Even though we know it does definitely spread via droplets, coughed and sneezed out.

“It is possible that people are getting it in other ways, essentially by transferring it from their hands to their mouth and nose.

“That’s why we really go on and on about handwashing.”

She continued: “We sound very boring, but it really is a major protective thing people can do to protect themselves.”

When asked what it would take for the WHO to declare the situation a pandemic, Ms Harris said: “Well, pandemic is described around flu because flu behaves in that way and goes into multi countries.

“We don’t really get hung up too much about categories.

“But certainly WHO is now saying it is beyond China and it is now in other countries.”

She added: “We are now concerned about that situation.”

The health spokesperson also confirmed that making that declaration wouldn’t change anything the WHO or Governments are going to deal with the virus.

The World Health Organisation has already declared the outbreak a global emergency.

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At this time, 77,000 people in China, where the virus originated from, have been infected.

Nearly 2,600 have died after being infected.

Over 1200 cases have been reported in 26 other countries.

The total number of confirmed cases in the UK has now risen to 13.

This comes after four cruise passengers flown to Britain were tested positive.

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