The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the Coronavirus as a pandemic and global health crisis for the first time on Wednesday.
They also added that countries including Italy and Iran were now “at the frontline” of the pandemic with other countries around the world set to join them very soon.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said, “The WHO has been assessing the outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic”.
He then went on to say, “Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It’s a word that if misused, can cause unreasonable fear or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death”.
He continued stressing that the global community needed to increase its efforts to help contain the outbreak and insisted that governments could still play a major role in reducing the spread if they were to use more aggressive measures.
.@WHO is deeply concerned by the alarming levels of the #coronavirus spread, severity & inaction, & expects to see the number of cases, deaths & affected countries climb even higher. Therefore, we made the assessment that #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic. https://t.co/97XSmyigME pic.twitter.com/gSqFm947D8— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 11, 2020
The global spread which was first discovered in Wuhan, China at the end of December has spread uncontrollably around the world causing the closure of schools and the postponement of other public and sporting events. Public mass gatherings have also been prohibited in many countries.
There are now over 118,000 confirmed cases of infections according to the latest WHO Situation Reports with the spread reaching over 114 countries. To date, 4,292 people have lost their lives to the deadly bug.
In the last two weeks, the number of cases outside of China has increased 13-fold with the number of infected countries tripling.
Italy which has the most infections outside of China with over 10,000 and 630 deaths had had to take drastic action in order to prevent further contagion.
Much of the country is now on lockdown with bars, restaurants, shops, hair salons and other non-essential outlets closed.
In the U.S, President Trump has now ordered all travel between Europe and the United States to be stopped for 30 days from Friday, however, this only affects Schengen countries which excludes the UK and Ireland.
He said the EU had "failed to take the same precautions" as the US.
Citizens in Spain are also extremely concerned with the latest figures published by the Spanish Health Ministry. They show that 2,128 people have been infected by the virus with 47 deaths.
Madrid and the Basque Country are the worst-hit regions with approximately 60% of all confirmed cases and 37 deaths.
In recent days, the regional authorities in both regions have made the decision to close schools, colleges and other educational facilities in order to curtail the spread keeping more than 1.3 million children and 100,000 staff members at home.
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Image Credit: ITU Pictures Flickr.