WHO calls for improved data-sharing on virus, says sending team to China

GENEVA, Feb 4 (Reuters) - The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday he had written to all health ministers urging them immediately to improve data-sharing on coronavirus and said he would send a team of international experts to work with Chinese counterparts.

So far 22 nations have officially reported trade or travel-related measures linked to the coronavirus, which WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said should be “short in duration, proportionate” and reviewed regularly.

Chen Xu, China’s ambassador to the U.N. in Geneva, told the WHO Executive Board that some restrictions went against the U.N. agency’s advice, and he told countries “not to over-react”.

So far 27 cases of person-to-person spread of the virus have been documented in nine countries outside of China, WHO officials said. The overall public health cost of the outbreak response from February to April is estimated at $675 million, which does not include the social or economic consequences of the outbreak, they added. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay Editing by Gareth Jones)