Coronavirus Outbreak: COVID-19 is now officially a pandemic
A passenger wearing respiratory mask looks on - Photo: Nicolò Campo/Sipa USA

COVID-19 is now officially a pandemic

11/03/2020
11:39
EL UNIVERSAL in English/Gretel Morales
Mexico City
WHO
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Dr. Tedros urged countries to “find, isolate, test and treat every case and trace every contact”

On January 30, the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak as an international emergency and on March 11, the WHO  declared the global COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO Director-General, said the spread of COVID-19 has now reached the level of a pandemic, noting there are more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries and 4,291 deaths.

During the press conference, Dr. Tedros explained 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;” all these factors contributed to the declaration of the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic:

“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.

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what the 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.”

Tedros emphasized that the pandemic can be controlled if countries “detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response.”

So far, 81 countries have not reported any cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less; Mexico is included in the list as it has reported 7 COVID-19 cases.

The WHO asked governments from all countries to activate and increase their emergency response mechanisms.

Mexico’s Health Ministry has not commented on the pandemic declaration yet.

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