The World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday that the novel coronavirus outbreak was not out of control globally nor causing large-scale deaths and it was "too early" to speak of a pandemic.

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told a news conference in Geneva: "Using the word pandemic does not fit the facts," adding: "We must focus on containment while preparing for a potential pandemic," as reported by Reuters.

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On Iran, Dr. Mike Ryan, head of WHO's emergencies program, said that the high death rate may reflect detection of only severe cases and not mild infections at the start of the outbreak. A WHO team is to arrive in Iran on Tuesday, he added.