“That is why authorities are doing everything to recognise the origin of infections and slow down any further spread of the infection.”
According to Professor Drosten, the coronavirus epidemic could even match the Asian flu pandemic of 1957 and the 1968 flu pandemic, which began in Hong Kong.
In the former case, the Asian flu is estimated to have killed between one and two million people.
Professor Drosten said: “If the whole pandemic process lasts two years, we will manage.
“If it is only a year, it will be much more difficult because many more cases will occur all at the same time.