(24 Feb 2020) The head of the United Nations called on countries around the world on Monday to do everything in their power to address the deadly new virus outbreak.
"All countries must do everything to be prepared", UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at a briefing at the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Geneva.
He said if some countries failed to put adequate and robust containment measures in place, the spread of the new virus could become "out of control, with dramatic consequences on global health and global economy".
He also urged nations to fully support WHO appeals for funding, which were "vital" to avoid disease outbreaks becoming "global nightmares".
His comments came as officials in Europe and the Middle East scramble to limit the spread of an outbreak that showed signs of stabilising at its Chinese epicentre but posed new threats far beyond.
The number of people sickened by the coronavirus has topped 79,000 globally.
Its rapid spread is spooking financial markets and restricting international travel.
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