The are now more than 77,362 cases and more than 2,600 deaths, as a result of coronavirus. Outside China, there are now 2,074 cases of COVID-19 in 28 countries, with 23 deaths. The Countries where the cases have been confirmed so far include the Republic of Korea, Japan, Australia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Philippines, Thailand, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Canada, United States of America and Italy, among others.
While a sudden increase in new
cases of COVID-19 is of concern, the spread of coronavirus is not yet a
pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.
WHO Director-General Tedros
Adhanom Ghebreyesus explained that the decision to use the word ‘pandemic’ is
based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus,
the severity of the disease it causes, and the impact on society.
“For the moment, we are not
witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus, and we are not
witnessing large-scale severe disease or death,” he said, adding that what is
occurring is coronavirus epidemics in different parts of the world, which are
affecting countries differently.
The coronavirus emerged late last
year in China, where cases are now declining. A joint WHO-China mission has
concluded its work, after travelling to several provinces, including Wuhan,
the epicentre of the outbreak and found that the epidemic peaked and plateaued
between 23 January and 2 February, and has been declining steadily ever since.
As of Monday morning, there were
more than 77,362 cases and more than 2,600 deaths. Outside China, there are now
2,074 cases of COVID-19 in 28 countries, with 23 deaths. The Countries where
the cases have been confirmed so far include the Republic of Korea, Japan,
Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Viet Nam, Philippines, Cambodia, Thailand,
India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Canada, United States of America, Italy, Germany,
France, The United Kingdom, Russian Federation, Spain, Belgium, Finland, Israel,
Sweden, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Egypt and Lebanon.
The WHO chief described the sudden increase of cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea as “deeply concerning”.
Korea, now has the highest cases outside china, with 763 confirmed cases and
seven deaths. Italy has reported 124 cases, 24 of which are new infections
reported this week, while Iran now has 43 confirmed cases with eight deaths.
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However, he added that even with
the increase, the outbreak has not reached pandemic potential. “Does this virus have pandemic potential?
Absolutely, it has. Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet,” he stressed.
He observes a need to
focus on containment while doing everything possible to prepare for a potential
The World Health Organisation
urged the public to avoid close contact with people suffering from acute
respiratory infections. Exercise frequent hand-washing, especially after direct
contact with ill people or their environment, avoiding unprotected contact with
farm or wild animals, practice cough etiquette by maintaining distance, cover
coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
The recommendations are based on
the fact that during previous outbreaks due to Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome
(MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), human-to-human
transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that
the transmission mode of the COVID-19 can be similar.
Within healthcare facilities, the
health agency urges governments to enhance standard infection prevention and control
practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.
WHO does not recommend any
specific health measures for travellers but says that in case of symptoms
suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, travellers are
encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their