The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared COVID-19 a global pandemic after the past two weeks has seen the number of cases of the virus outside China increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries triple.
There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.
WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made a formal address last night explaining that in the days and weeks ahead they expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
“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”.
WHO’s Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic,” he said.
“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”.
He went on to say that ALL countries can still change the course of the 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.
He said all countries should strive for “a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights”.
“We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable,” he concluded.
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