China's coronavirus epidemic may peak in February and then plateau before easing, the government's top medical adviser on the outbreak said.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Zhong Nanshan, a leading epidemiologist who won international fame for his role in combating the SARS epidemic in 2003, said the situation in some provinces was already improving, with the number of new cases declining.
Zhong, who had previously predicted an earlier peak, said the forecast was based on modeling and developments in recent days, as well as government action.
"So, we suppose maybe, the peak time may be reached at the, maybe middle or late this month, February ... and then keep a little bit plateau or something like that and, then going down," he said.
He said containment measures in the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, were necessary, and the country should also permanently ban trade in wildlife.
It also needed to improve its disease control mechanisms and even help set up a global early warning system for contagious diseases.