WHO declares COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic

Updated: Mar 12, 2020, 08:40 IST | Agencies | Geneva

WHO chief urges to change course of the outbreak by taking "urgent and aggressive action"

Iranian firefighters disinfect streets and allies in southern Tehran to halt the wild spread of Coronavirus on Wednesday. Pic/AFP
Iranian firefighters disinfect streets and allies in southern Tehran to halt the wild spread of Coronavirus on Wednesday. Pic/AFP

The new Coronavirus [COVID-19] outbreak can now be characterised as a pandemic, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday. "COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said reporters in Geneva. "We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a Coronavirus."'

According to BBC, Dr Tedros said the number of cases outside China had increased 13-fold over the past two weeks. He said he was 'deeply concerned' by 'alarming levels of inaction' over the virus. However, he said that calling the outbreak a pandemic did not mean the WHO was changing its advice about what countries should do.

He called on governments to change the course of the outbreak by taking "urgent and aggressive action". "Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled. The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large clusters or community transmission is not if they can do the same — it's whether they will," Dr Tedros was quoted by BBC.

63 dead in 24 hours in Iran
Iran on Wednesday reported 63 new deaths from the novel Coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the highest single-day toll since it announced the first deaths from the outbreak. "Based on new lab results, we have identified 958 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the country, bringing the total number of cases to 9,000," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised news conference. The outbreak of Coronavirus in Iran is one of the deadliest outside China.

9,000
Total no. of Coronavirus cases detected in Iran

UK health minister tests positive

British MP Nadine Dorries, a minister in the health department, tested positive for COVID-19 she said in a statement on Tuesday. "I can confirm I have tested positive for Coronavirus... and have been self-isolating at home," she said. Officials are now trying to trace where she contracted the virus and who she has been in contact with. The Times reported that she was in touch with several people, including PM Boris Johnson.

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