COVID-19 'can be characterised as a pandemic': WHO chief

Published March 11, 2020
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters on March 11 in Geneva. — AFP
World Health Organisation (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 virus at the WHO headquaters on March 11 in Geneva. — AFP

The new coronavirus outbreak can now be characterised as a pandemic, the head of the World Health Organisation said on Wednesday.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was alarmed by the spread and severity of the outbreak, along with a lack of action taken to combat it.

“COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic,” he told reporters in Geneva. “We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction.”

He said he expected the number of cases and deaths would grow in the coming days and weeks.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus,” he said.

He also said hard-hit Iran was trying its best to control the outbreak but needed more supplies.

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