WEDNESDAY, March 11, 2020 (HealthDay News) — The World Health Organization on Wednesday officially declared the coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe a pandemic.
“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,” agency director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Ph.D., tweeted. He noted that “in the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled.”
But the WHO chief also stressed that labeling the crisis a pandemic does not mean it is too late to turn things around. “Eighty-one countries have not reported any COVID-19 cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less,” Ghebreyesus noted, and “of the 118,000 COVID-19 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those — China and South Korea — have significantly declining epidemics. We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”
Cases of infection have now been spotted on every continent except Antarctica, according to the WHO. As of Wednesday morning, the WHO had reported more than 118,000 cases of coronavirus worldwide, including almost 4,300 deaths, the vast majority of which have occurred in China, where the outbreak began.
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