UN chief: New virus outbreak is 'a very dangerous situation'

The U.N. secretary general has told The Associated Press that the virus outbreak that began in China “is not out of control but it is a very dangerous situation.”

Antonio Guterres said in an interview Tuesday that “the risks are enormous and we need to be prepared worldwide for that.”

Guterres said a spread of the virus to countries with “less capacity in their health service” would require a great deal of international solidarity.

The outbreak has infected more than 73,000 people globally. It has caused more than 1,800 deaths, nearly all in China. The World Health Organization has named the illness COVID-19, referring to its origin late last year and the coronavirus that causes it.

China reported 1,886 new virus cases and 98 more deaths in its update Tuesday. A report saying the disease outbreak has caused a mild illness in most people raised optimism among global health authorities.

The U.N. chief was in Pakistan for a conference on 40 years of refugees fleeing neighboring war-torn Afghanistan.