Why WHO declared COVID-19 a pandemic
This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus
COVID-19, which has affected least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people ,has been officially been declared a pandemic, according to an announcement by the World Health Organization.
"This is the first pandemic caused by coronavirus," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a briefing in Geneva. It's the first time the WHO has called an outbreak a pandemic since the H1N1 "swine flu" in 2009.
The WHO is placing it in a different category than several recent deadly outbreaks, including the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Zika virus outbreak in 2016 and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa.
As per the announcement made on March 11 by the WHO, the term to be used ‘lightly or carelessly’. A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease, according to the WHO.
"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," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of WHO said in a media briefing.
WHO has been assessing this 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," the WHO Director-General said.
The WHO added that this is a pandemic that can be controlled and the first one caused by a coronavirus. The organisation usually does not declare public health situations that do not involve flu as pandemics.