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World Health Organization Declares That COVID-19 Is Now a Pandemic

March 11, 2020 (EIRNS)—As the global number of coronavirus cases reached 124,663 today, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared that the COVID-19 epidemic can now accurately be defined as a pandemic. He documented the evolution of the novel coronavirus over the past two weeks, pointing to the 13-fold increase of cases outside of China, and the tripling in the number of countries affected. In the days and weeks ahead, he said, he expected to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries to “climb even higher.”

WHO has made its assessment after monitoring the outbreak around the clock, and becoming deeply concerned “both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” he said. Pandemic “is not a word to use lightly or carelessly,” Dr. Tedros cautioned again. “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.”

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

He pointed out that the world has 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.” And, he underscored, this is not just a public health crisis, but one that “will touch every sector, so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight.” He emphasized that he has urged countries to take a “whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives, and minimize impact.”

“We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic.” Dr. Tedros acknowledged that there are some countries that are struggling with a lack of capacity, with a lack of resources, and some “with a lack of resolve.” We are grateful, he said, “for the measures being taken in Iran, Italy, and the Republic of Korea to slow the virus and control their epidemics. We know that these measures are taking a heavy toll on societies and economies, just as they did in China. WHO’s mandate is public health. But we’re working with many partners across all sectors to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this pandemic.”

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