WHO declares coronavirus a pandemic as Africa grapples with outbreak
By Adetayo Opeyemi
The World Health Organisation (WHO), has declared coronavirus as a pandemic.
WHO Director-General,Tedros Ghebreyesus, disclosed this on Wednesday during a media briefing.
More than 110,000 cases have been reported worldwide with its hot zone in Italy, China, South Korea and Iran.
Earlier this week, the Italian Prime Minister had announced a lockdown of the entire country, placing more than six million people under close watch.
The severity of the virus outbreak, WHO stated, informed its designation as a pandemic.
“In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID19 outside China has increased 13-fold & the number of affected countries has tripled. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, & 4,291 people have lost their lives,” he said.
Media briefing on #COVID19 with @DrTedros. #coronavirus https://t.co/aPFXT3ex5y
— World Health Organization (WHO) (@WHO) March 11, 2020
“Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of #COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
“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.
“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.
“I remind all countries that we are calling on you to activate & scale up your emergency response mechanisms, communicate with your people about the risks & how they can protect themselves, find, isolate, test and treat every #COVID19 case & trace every contact.”
Meanwhile, Africa has continued to record more cases of people infected with the virus. As at Tuesday, WHO said there were 99 confirmed cases in Algeria, Togo, South Africa, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, Senegal and Nigeria.
Burkina Faso and Congo have also announced their first confirmed cases, and the peculiarity of the trend is that all affected persons have been to Europe.
South Africa has reported six new confirmed cases of Covid-19, the respiratory disease that is transmitted through body fluid.