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World Health Organization declares coronavirus a pandemic

World Health Organization declares coronavirus a pandemic
The World Health Organization has said that the spread of Covid-19 around the world has reached the stage where it can be described as a pandemic.

At Wednesday’s daily coronavirus briefing WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, revealed that there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries around the world, and 4,291 people have lost their lives due to the disease.

“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,” the director-general said.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do,” he added.

Tedros said that some countries are struggling to tackle the spread of the Covid-19 illness due to a lack of capacity but others are struggling because of a lack of resolve.

The health chief said that swift action from authorities can prevent larger clusters of cases and community transmission and even if they fail to do so “they can turn the tide”. He called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking "urgent and aggressive action".

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Pandemic is the term the WHO uses to describe the “worldwide spread of a new disease”. The global health body last declared a pandemic during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. However, the organization faced stiff criticism over that decision as many said it created unnecessary panic.

The novel coronavirus outbreak started in China late last year but official figures show that the Asian country has stabilized the spread of the disease. Meanwhile, the number of cases in European countries has skyrocketed in recent weeks.

On Wednesday the death toll in Italy, the worst hit European nation so far, jumped by 31 percent to 827. The number of cases in the country also rose by more than 22 percent to 12,462. On a global scale more than 65,000 people are recorded as having recovered from the illness.

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