The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
According to WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold over the past two weeks.
He said, “WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.
Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.
Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”
He called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking “urgent and aggressive action.”
“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.
“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.
“Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this virus.
“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.”