Coronavirus: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic

Published: Updated:
Enable Read mode
100% Font Size

The new coronavirus outbreak can now be characterized as a pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

“We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO chief.


“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response," he said.

“We are deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

Iran and Italy are the new front lines of the battle against the virus that started in China, the WHO said.

“They’re suffering but I guarantee you other countries will be in that situation soon," said Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO's emergencies chief.
He added that the agency thought long and hard about labeling the crisis a pandemic — meaning a new virus causing sustained outbreaks in multiple regions of the world.

The risk of employing the term, Ryan said, is “if people use it as an excuse to give up.”

Read more:

Coronavirus: Lebanon restaurant owners decide to temporarily close down premises

Coronavirus: Kuwait to suspend all flights from Friday until further notice

What are the chances of surviving coronavirus? It depends on your age and gender

Top Content Trending