TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The World Health Organization (WHO) on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, announced that Coronavirus (COVID-19) has infected at least 114 countries and killed more than 4,000 people. Because of this, the Coronavirus has now officially became a pandemic.
"This is the first pandemic caused by the Coronavirus," WHO General Director, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a briefing in Geneva, as quoted by NPR.
This is the first time WHO called a pandemic outbreak since the H1N1 'swine flu' in 2009.
Despite rising health emergencies to the highest level, Tedros said there is still hope that COVID-19 could be reduced and he urged to take action to stop the disease.
"We have been on full response mode since the first case, we have also called all countries to take urgent and aggressive action. We have rung the alarm loudly and clearly." Tedros explained.
Eight countries have reported more than 1,000 cases of COVID-19. It has infected nearly 120,000 people worldwide.
"In the past two weeks, the number of COVID-19 cases outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled," Tedros said.
"In the coming days and weeks, we expect to see a higher number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries."
"WHO is deeply concerned, both with the alarming rate of spread, severity and by the alarming level of inaction by world leaders in response to the outbreak," Tedros said.
"Therefore we have made a judgment that COVID-19 can be categorized as a pandemic," he said.
By establishing COVID-19 as a pandemic, WHO placed it in a different category from several recent deadly outbreaks, including the recent Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the 2016 Zika virus outbreak and the 2014 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, the third outbreak was considered an international emergency.
In the latest pandemic, the H1N1 influenza virus killed more than 18,000 people in more than 214 countries and regions, according to WHO. In recent years, other estimates have put the H1N1 victims higher.
Moh Khory Alfarizi | NPR | Galuh Kurnia Ramadhani (Intern Translator)