WHO declares novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

WHO declares novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on 11 March, warning that the global spread and severity of the illness was due to alarming levels of inaction.

The number of cases across the globe has risen to more than 124,000 with 4,500 deaths, including a jump in fatalities particularly in Iran and Italy, according to an AFP tally.

The majority of cases have been in China where the outbreak first emerged in December, but as the number of new infections surged in the country, it started emerging and spreading globally making Italy, Iran and Spain some of the hotspots.

China remains the worst-affected country with more than 80,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press conference, adding that the declaration would not change the organisation’s response to the outbreak.

“We’re deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.” he said.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” Tedros insisted.

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