As the global death toll from coronavirus rises, the World Health Organisation has now declared that this is a pandemic. Director-General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: “We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time. WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases. 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.”
He continued: “We have therefore made the assessment that Covid-19 can be characterised as a pandemic.
“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this 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 coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”
Dr Ghebreyesus added: “As I said on Monday, just looking at the number of cases and the number of countries affected, does not tell the full story.
“Of those reported globally in hundreds of countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries.
“And two of those, China and the Republic of Korea, have significantly declining epidemics.
“81 countries have not reported any cases and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less.”
The WHO Director also said: “We cannot say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough, all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.
“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise their people in their reposes, those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission.
“Even those countries with community transmission or larger clusters can turn the tide on this virus.”
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He continued: “Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can suppressed and controlled.
“The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transition is not whether they can do the same, it’s whether they will.
“Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.
“We’re grateful for the measures being taken in Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea to slow and virus and control their epidemics.
“We know that these measures are taking a heavy toll on societies and economies.”
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