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Coronavirus declared pandemic by World Health Organisation

Coronavirus declared pandemic by World Health Organisation
11.03.2020
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The coronavirus outbreak has now been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) – as it expresses increasing alarm about the rising number of cases.

More than 4,300 people have died globally after contracting COVID-19, the prevalent strain of coronavirus, and there have been a total of over 121,500 confirmed infections in at least 114 nations.

There have been more than 3,000 deaths in China, the epicentre of the outbreak.

In the second-worst affected country Italy, which has been put on lockdown, the number of dead in the most severely hit region of Lombardy has reportedly risen from 468 to 617 in a day.

Speaking about the worldwide situation, WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.

He added: “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.”

Mr Tedros said all countries can still change the course of the pandemic if they detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise their people in the response.

According to the WHO website, a pandemic is defined as the worldwide spread of a new disease. It can also refer to a disease which is prevalent over a whole country.

In contrast to a pandemic, an epidemic refers to the spread of illness in a “community or region…clearly in excess of normal expectancy”.

According to a 2017 report, the WHO has four phases to describe the outbreak of a pandemic.

  • Interpandemic phase – this is the period between pandemics
  • Alert phase – this is when a new virus has been identified and risk assessments are carried out at local, national and global levels
  • Pandemic phase – this is the period of global spread of the virus. Experts say this is happening with coronavirus.
  • Transition phase – this is when the global risk reduces and countries begin to recover
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