GENEVA, SWITZERLAND – Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) recognized the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as a pandemic for the first time. Furthermore, the countries Italy and Iran are currently at the frontline of the disease and those other countries would soon join.
“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,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a news conference.
COVID-19, which initially emerged in Wuhan, China last December 2019, already spread around the globe—disrupting daily transactions, flights, as well as suspending classes and forcing postponements of events.
Following the fast spread, the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern on January 30 when there were fewer than a hundred cases of the coronavirus outside China, while eight of these cases were human-to-human transmission. The declaration is known to be its “highest level of alarm.”
Today, more than 118,000 cases are prevalent in 114 countries. 4,291 lives were taken, mostly elderly, and the numbers are expected to continue to rise.