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The coronavirus is a 'PANDEMIC' as Europe scrambles to contain it
Published on: 2020-03-12
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WHOIn this Monday, March 9, 2020 photo, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organization speaks during a news conference on updates regarding on the novel coronavirus COVID-19, at the WHO headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Accompanying him are Michael Ryan, left, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies program, and Maria van Kerkhove, right, technical lead of WHO's Health Emergencies program.

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, the WHO declared the new coronavirus a PANDEMIC, suggesting the disease is spreading across the globe unchecked.

The World Health Organization called the new coronavirus outbreak a PANDEMIC on Wednesday, issuing a grim warning that the global spread and severity of the illness was due to "alarming levels of inaction."
 

The call came as Europe faced a mounting number of cases - including a slew of new countries clocking first deaths - prompting governments to roll out increasingly tough measures to slow the rapid spread of the virus.

workers in Spain place a medical mask on a figure that was to be part of the Fallas festival in ValenciaWorkers in Spain place a medical mask on a figure that was to be part of the Fallas festival in Valencia

The number of cases across the globe has risen to more than 124,000 with 4,500 deaths, including a jump in fatalities particularly in Iran and Italy.
 

The majority of cases have been in China, but as the number of new infections has steadied in the country, hotspots have emerged elsewhere - namely South Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.

An official sprays disinfectant in a kindergarten to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Miercurea Ciuc or Csikszereda in Hungarian central RomaniaAn official sprays disinfectant in a kindergarten to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus in Miercurea Ciuc, or Csikszereda in Hungarian, central Romania

The head of the UN's top health body for the first time characterized the outbreak as a pandemic, meaning it is spreading in several regions through local transmission.

Schools have been closed and cultural and sporting events cancelled in ItalySchools have been closed and cultural and sporting events cancelled in Italy

"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, adding that the declaration would not change the organization's response to the outbreak.

A woman walks past the Basilica of Santo Stefano in Bologna ItalyA woman walks past the Basilica of Santo Stefano, in Bologna, Italy

"We're deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction."
 

He did not single out any nations for not doing enough - or what further measures were needed. He instead called on "countries to take urgent and aggressive action."

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