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WHO officially declares Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday declared the novel Coronavirus (christened COVID-19) a pandemic.

WHO said the decision was occasioned by how fast the virus is spreading with more than 118,000 cases of the coronavirus ailment being reported in more than 110 countries globally and a risk it will spread further globally.

“This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector. So every sector and every individual must be involved in the fights,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO director-general, during a media briefing.

The WHO describes a pandemic as a spread of a new disease globally, even as it remains unclear the definite parameters used by the global body to determine a disease a pandemic.

The declaration of a disease as a pandemic mostly refers to the spread of the particular illness as opposed to how severe the ailment it causes is.

In January, the WHO called the Coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern, which refers to something that “constitutes a public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease.”

“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,” said Dr. Tedros on Wednesday.

“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.”

The declaration by the global body sends a strong message to all countries that it is highly likely that the virus will continue to be transmitted across the world hence they should prepare accordingly.

“We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable,” Dr. Tedros added.