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The head of the World Health Organization has warned that “the worst is yet ahead of us” in the coronavirus outbreak, raising new alarm bells about the pandemic just as many countries are beginning to ease restrictive measures.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus didn’t specify exactly why he believes that the outbreak could get worse. Some people, though, have pointed to the likely future spread of the illness through Africa, where health systems are far less developed.

So far, it has infected nearly 2.5 million people and killed over 166,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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Tedros alluded to the so-called Spanish flu in 1918 as a reference for the coronavirus outbreak.

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“It has a very dangerous combination and this is happening … like the 1918 flu that killed up to 100 million people,” he told reporters in Geneva.

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