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Monday, March 9, 2020

Threat Of Coronavirus Pandemic ‘Very Real’, World Health Organization Says

Threat Of Coronavirus Pandemic

The threat of a pandemic has become very real for the coronavirus that has crossed into 110 countries with more than 100,000 cases, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said Monday.

At a press conference at WHO headquarters in Geneva, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that over the weekend, the world officially crossed 100,000 reported cases of COVID-19 in 100 countries.

"It's certainly troubling that so many people and countries have been affected, so quickly," said Tedros.

"Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real."

The WHO said the world is still in the "upcycle" of the epidemic.

Tedros added, however, that it would "be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled."

“We can win this battle,” he said.

He said that of the 80,000 reported cases in China, more than 70% have recovered and been discharged.

"Of all the cases reported globally so far, 93% are from just four countries. This is an uneven epidemic at the global level," said Tedros. “We can contain it.”

Out of the 110 countries with COVID-19 cases, 79 have fewer than 100, he said.

“We have seen from China and Korea [South] that you can dent the cases and stem the tide,” said Tedros.

He stressed that governments, businesses, communities, families, and individuals can influence the trajectory of the epidemic.

Tedros said that China, Italy, Japan, South Korea, the U.S. and many others had activated emergency measures.

He cited Singapore as "a good example of an all-of-government approach," saying that Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong's regular videos are helping to explain the risks and reassure people.

South Korea stepped up efforts to identify all cases and contacts, including drive-through temperature testing, to widen the net and catch cases that might otherwise be missed.

Nigeria, Senegal, and Ethiopia have also strengthened surveillance and diagnostic capacity to find cases quickly.

"WHO has shipped supplies of personal protective equipment to 57 countries," said Tedros.

"We're preparing to ship to a further 28, and we've shipped lab supplies to 120 countries."

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