The World Health Organization’s head of emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, said that transmission of the novel coronavirus by asymptomatic carriers is “very rare.”
Addressing a press conference, Van Kerkhove said, “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual.”
“Government responses should focus on detecting and isolating infected people with symptoms, and tracking anyone who might have come into contact with them,” Kerkhove said.
The zoonosis unit head said that more research and data are needed to “truly answer” the question of whether the coronavirus can spread widely through asymptomatic carriers.
“We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing. They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare,” she stated.