Worried WHO declares COVID-19 outbreak global pandemic
London, March 11, 2020 (AltAfrica)-The global coronavirus outbreak has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation which expressed increasing concern about the spread of the disease and “alarming levels of inaction”.
There have been more than 121,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the prevalent strain of coronavirus, in at least 114 nations.
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More than 4,300 people have died, including over 3,000 in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.
In the second worst affected country Italy, which has been put on lockdown nationwide, the number of dead in the most severely hit region of Lombardy has risen from 468 to 617 in a day.
WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold over the past two weeks.
He said he was “deeply concerned” by “alarming levels of inaction” over the virus.
A pandemic is a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time.
However, Dr Tedros said that calling the outbreak a pandemic did not mean the WHO was changing its advice about what countries should do.
He called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking “urgent and aggressive action”.
“Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled,” he said.
“The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same – it’s whether they will.”
Governments had to “strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimising disruption and respecting human life”.
“We’re in this together to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable,” he said.