WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic
Posted on March 11th, 2020

Courtesy Adaderana

The World Health Organization on Wednesday declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via Twitter that COVID-19 was the first type of coronavirus to cause a pandemic. He said describing the ongoing situation as one did not change the organization’s assessment of the threat, or what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do either.

Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Tedros said. 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.”

While the term has already been employed by many medical professionals, the WHO has avoided an official declaration before now.

The organization officially defines pandemic as the worldwide spread of a new disease,” noting that viruses that have caused past pandemics typically originated from animal influenza viruses,” which appears to the be the case with this novel coronavirus.

The assessment comes as Italy is weighing even tighter restrictions on daily life and has announced billions in financial relief to cushion economic shocks from the coronavirus.

Premier Giuseppe Conte says he will consider requests to toughen an already extraordinary lockdown.

The hardest-hit region of Lombardy is pushing for a shutdown of nonessential businesses and public transportation on top of travel and social restrictions.

The death toll in Italy has risen to 631. In the U.S., more than 1,000 people have been infected.

-Agencies

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