Coronavirus: WHO recognized pandemic; Guterres, “no more inaction”

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A digitally-enhanced microscopic image shows a coronavirus infection in blue of the first case discovered in the United States. , by CDC/Hannah A Bullock/Azaibi Tami

GENEVA/NEW YORK, MAY 11 – The World Health Organization has officially recognized the COVID-19 epidemic as a pandemic, a designation that recognizes the global scale and danger of the new virus as well as the inadequate response.

“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,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the WHO’s director-general. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The declaration, announced during the WHO’s news briefing on Wednesday in Geneva, comes after weeks of urging from public health experts who said the crisis had long ago met the criteria for a pandemic.

“As we fight the virus, we cannot let fear go viral. Together, we can still change the course of this pandemic – but that means addressing inaction. The best science tells us, if countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, we can go a long way to mitigating transmission. I call on every government to step up and scale up their efforts – now”, the UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres said today.

The United Nations have already closed its New York headquarters to the general public and reducing its staff footprint of 40% to allow “social distancing”. As one of the nations on the frontline, Italy was praised by the WHO for adopting very strict measures to mitigate and contain the virus. Further restrictions were adopted today stopping almost all commercial activities. (@OnuItalia)