WHO declares novel Coronavirus outbreak as global pandemic; What it means?

  • The Novel Coronavirus confirmed as pandemic as number of infected countries continue to grow

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The World Health Organization (WHO) is characterizing the Novel Coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic which killed over 4,300 people and infected 121,564 globally.

On Wednesday, 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. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic."

However, WHO also stated that the use of the word 'pandemic' to describe this outbreak does not change its response.

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COVID-19 outbreak

The new Coronavirus, which emerged in China in 2019 December, has spread around the world and reached over 100 countries. As per the reports, the COVID-19 is responsible for disruption in business and industrial work, closure of schools and postponing sporting events and concerts all over the world.

WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern, its "highest level of alarm", on January 30. At that time there were fewer than 100 cases of COVID-19 outside China, the epicenter of the outbreak and eight cases of human-to-human transmission of the disease.

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The current Coronavirus scenario

At this time the exact data shows that there are more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, while 4,373 people have died and officials are expecting that these numbers will be higher in a few days.

It should be noted that WHO no longer has a category for declaring a pandemic, except for influenza. However, officials have signalled for weeks that they may use the word "pandemic" as a descriptive term but stressed that it does not carry legal significance.

Earlier WHO declared H1N1 swine flu outbreak, which emerged in 2009, a pandemic. It turned out to be mild, leading to some criticism after pharmaceutical companies started to develop vaccines and drugs.

As reported by Reuters, Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director, WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said during a news conference that Iran's situation was "very serious" and the agency would like to see more surveillance and more care for the patients. It should be noted that in the Middle East country 9,000 people have infected by the new Coronavirus, which killed more than 350 Iranian citizens.

(With inputs from agency)

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