The world is in “uncharted territory” on the coronavirus outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
Doctors had “never before seen a respiratory pathogen capable of community transmission”, its chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said.
Deaths globally have now passed 3,000. Most are in China but in the past day there were nine times more new infections outside China than inside.
However, Dr Tedros insisted: “We can still push this virus back”.
He said the development of the Covid-19 disease globally was not a “one-way street” and could be combated if countries acted quickly and effectively – starting with containment measures.
“There is no choice but to act now,” he said.
One of the countries worst affected outside China – Italy – on Monday saw a jump in its death toll from 34 to 52.