UN health chief visits China to help with virus containment

The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has flown to China to meet with government officials and health experts trying to contain the spread of a deadly virus that has killed 81 people in China and infected 2,750.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said the UN health agency wants “to understand the latest developments and strengthen our partnership with China in providing further protection against the outbreak.”

Last week, WHO held off on declaring the virus a global health emergency. It said China had taken very strong measures — including locking down cities that are home to 50 million people — that the agency hoped would be effective in containing the virus and “short in duration.”

Tedros said he would not hesitate to reconvene the WHO emergency committee at a moment’s notice if the situation in China changed. He said that could happen “in a day” if that was needed.

The mayor of the Chinese city where a deadly virus broke out says he would be willing to resign if it helps the government contain its spread.

Mayor Zhou Xianwang told state broadcaster CCTV that both he and Wuhan’s Communist Party secretary are willing to take responsibility for closing off the city, including being removed from office.

As the virus spread through China and overseas, transportation links to the city were cut last week to prevent more people from leaving.

Zhou also responded to allegations that the city was slow to disclose information in the early days of the outbreak, saying local governments are restricted from releasing information about infectious diseases without authorization.

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