WHO Doctor: "Get ready for coronavirus to arrive to a community near you"

29 February 2020, 12:21 | Updated: 29 February 2020, 12:23

A World Health Organisation official has told Matt Frei that people should expect the coronavirus to arrive to their doorstep as the disease spreads globally.

Margaret Harris, a doctor with the WHO was on the line to outline the World Health Organisation's upgrading of coronavirus to "a very high risk" of spreading.

When Matt Frei asked the doctor what the public should make of the upgrade, Dr. Harris simply said "do expect that the virus will arrive in your community".

She admitted that although there is a very low mortality rate for coronavirus, Dr. Harris explained that "enough people have a severe case to require enormous care" and it is down to such reasoning that the WHO has upgraded the grade to a "very high risk".

The mention pandemic came up from Matt, and he pushed Margaret Harris as to find out why "we haven't quite reached pandemic level".

"If it is a pandemic, what will actually change?"

The WHO official encouraged the public to be vigilent
The WHO official encouraged the public to be vigilent. Picture: PA

Dr. Margaret Harris stated that worldwide there would be no change should there be a pandemic warning for covid-19. She understood that most countries globally are conducting themselves well in managing the spread of the virus and would maintain a good standard of operations should the disease reach pandemic level.

Matt was skeptical. He pushed Dr. Harris on her reluctance to announce a pandemic and asked if she was "avoiding the word pandemic to avoid a psychological impact on people" to which she also declined.

Dr. Harris made sure that she was understood to say that covid-19 has not reached pandemic level and it is being managed well.

"The best way to stop new cases is to shut down functions for a while" she stated. Dr. Harris mentioned the work of China and how the Chinese government has managed to quell the initial outbreak of the virus in Wuhan to a point where new cases of coronavirus are decreasing in the country.