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Covid-19 now a world pandemic, World Health Organisation

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PHOTO: WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus - SCMP

The Covid-19 coronavirus has now been identified in at least 114 countries, whilst killing more than 4,000 people. From an outbreak, to an epidemic, the coronavirus has now been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation. Even though media outlets around the world were starting to use the ‘P’ word, the WHO had so far resisted raising the emergency level to that of ‘Pandemic’.

Covid-19 now a world pandemic, World Health Organisation | News by Thaiger

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the declaration at a briefing in Geneva. The last time the WHO declared a global pandemic was during the outbreak of H1N1, aka. “swine flu”, in 2009.

“This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus.”

Even as Tedros raised the current world-wide health emergency to its highest level, Tedros said the WHO remains hopeful that that COVID-19 can be curtailed and continued to urge countries to “take action now to stop the disease”.

“WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases,” Tedros said. “And we have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear.”

Eight countries, including the US, are now each reporting more than 1,000 confirmed cases…

Covid-19 now a world pandemic, World Health Organisation | News by Thaiger

“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.”

“In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”

The WHO is “deeply concerned, both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction” by world leaders in response to the outbreak.”

In the last pandemic, the H1N1 influenza virus killed more than 18,000 people in more than 214 countries and territories, according to the WHO. Other estimates put H1N1’s final toll even higher.

In Italy, more than 630 people have died of Covid-19 coronavirus, and the total number of cases continues to rise sharply – 2,313 new cases in the past 24 hours. The country now has 12,462 cases, second only to China. There are 9,000 cases in Iran and more than 7,755 in South Korea.

Those four nations are all imposing drastic measures in an attempt to slow the spread of the disease. At this stage the coronavirus shows a higher fatality rate for elderly people and those with underlying health conditions. The younger you are, the less likely you are to suffer severe symptoms, or die. Still, the current death rate of the virus, globally, is 3.6%.

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic.”

The Thaiger has some broader thoughts on the current situation and some tips and prevention measures HERE.

 

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