It is “very rare” for patients not showing symptoms of Covid-19 to spread it, says a top World Health Organisation official.
Such patients may in fact have a mild disease that is not related to coronavirus, according to Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, who is the technical lead for the WHO’s coronavirus response.
The fact that initial studies suggested symptoms were not immediately present in people that contract the virus was a key reason for containment measures and the use of masks in public spaces.
Already, scientists have started reacting to these latest findings, with some suggesting the agency could be referring to pre-symptomatic patients.
While asymptomatic people never show signs of the coronavirus, pre-symptomatic people exhibit no signs of contracting the disease for the first few days.
With many countries easing lockdown measures in Africa and beyond, Dr Van Kerkhove has urged governments to focus on detecting and isolating symptomatic patients and tracing anyone who might have come into contact with them.