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Editor in Chief Mohamed Wadie

WHO Declares Novel Coronavirus Global Pandemic


Wed 11 Mar 2020 | 10:04 PM
Nawal Sayed

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared on Wednesday that a new coronavirus, which is spreading around the world, a "global pandemic; However it announced the novel COVID-19 is still "controllable".

According to the organization, the number of the COVID-19 infections outside China has doubled in the past two weeks, and the number of countries hit by the epidemic has tripled.

"We are very concerned to achieve the alarming levels of the outbreak and its severity, as well as the alarming levels of inaction,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press conference in Geneva.

“Now, COVID-19 can be categorized as a pandemic... we have never seen a pandemic spread due to the coronavirus," Adhanom added. 

"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change the assessment of the threat posed by the Coronavirus,” the WHO director-general stressed.

The declaration came as the number of known novel coronavirus cases surpassed 120,000 worldwide. In the United States, where more than 30 people have been killed by the coronavirus, the total number of cases has doubled in a matter of days, surpassing 1,000 late Tuesday, according to the U.S.-based Washington Post newspaper. 

On its part, the White House is considering moving all of Europe to a Level 3 travel advisory, discouraging all non-essential travel to those regions, according to two people with knowledge of the discussions.

The emerging coronavirus, which appeared in December in China, has spread to all continents of the world, with the exception of Antarctica, and it impedes daily life and economic circulation in an increasing number of countries.

Moreover, Executive Director of the WHO's Health Emergency Program, Michael Ryan, said that Iran and Italy are on the forefront and "suffering", warning that other countries will be in their similar position.

He explained that "currently in Iran there is a shortage of breathing equipment and oxygen."