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News • COVID-19 update

WHO labels coronavirus disease as a pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially categorized the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic.

Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom said:  "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. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. 

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.

We are not at the mercy of this virus

Tedros Adhanom

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do. We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time."

“We are not at the mercy of this virus,” said the WHO Director-General at an earlier media briefing, and appealed to all countries to keep aiming to stop transmission and prevent the spread of COVID-19, regardless of them facing no cases, sporadic cases, clusters or community transmission.

“Let hope be the antidote to fear. Let solidarity be the antidote to blame. Let our shared humanity be the antidote to our shared threat", Adhanom concluded.

The WHO has prepared a readiness checklist for hospitals, which lists measures to be taken in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The list can be viewed and downloaded here.


Source: WHO

12.03.2020

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