World Health Organization declares global pandemic due to coronavirus

World Health Organization declares the global pandemic due to coronavirus.

World Health Organization declares global pandemic due to coronavirus

The statement was released by the president of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global pandemic on Wednesday due to concern generated by the alarming levels of spread and severity caused by the coronavirus.

"We have assessed that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, confirmed at a press conference.

The general director explained that the spread of the virus in people has caused many critical health problems. He said that this situation led to determining how a global pandemic is being fought in the last hours.

"Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. In the days and weeks to come, we expect to see an increase in the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of countries affected by COVID-19," Ghebreyesus said.

Despite this, the director stressed that all countries have time to change the course of this pandemic. "You have to detect, test, treat, isolate, track and mobilize people in response," he said.

The organization added that Iran and Italy are the new battlefronts against the disease that began in China. "They are suffering, but I guarantee you, other countries will soon be in that situation," said Dr. Mike Ryan, WHO's director of emergencies.

The growing foci of infection of the new coronavirus are causing suspicion, amid an outbreak that has disrupted daily life and reformulated from the US presidential campaign to the trips of Pope Francis.

In the United States, cases exceeded 1,000, and outbreaks on both coasts increased concern. In Europe, an increasingly armored Italy had more than 10,000 infections and increased deaths among its elderly population.

"Right now, the epicenter - the new China - is Europe," said Robert Redfield, head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Rome's usual bustle was reduced to a whisper after Italy's 62 million people were instructed to stay home.

Although shops, cafes, and restaurants were still open, across the country, police made sure that customers stayed one meter (3 feet) away, and some businesses closed at 6:00 p.m.

Authorities reported 631 deaths in Italy from COVID-19, the virus's disease, following 168 deaths on Tuesday.

The health crisis was dealing a severe blow to the country's economy, the third largest of the 19 countries that use the euro, and threatened to bring instability to the entire planet.

Asian markets fell on Wednesday despite gains on Wall Street the day before. Investors appeared encouraged by US President Donald Trump's promises of an aid package to offset the outbreak's economic impact.

Governments of several countries in Asia and other regions announced multi-billion-dollar stimulus funds, such as plans announced in Japan on Tuesday and in Australia on Wednesday.

"Investors remain concerned that these fiscal stimulus packages may not contain the virus outbreak and mitigate the impact on the economy," said Louis Wong of Philip Capital Management.

For most, the new virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for a select few, especially the elderly and people with previous medical problems, it can cause more serious complications like pneumonia.

More than 119,000 people have been infected worldwide, and about 4,200 have died. The virus has affected travel, closed schools, and disrupted manufacturing processes around the world.

The Vatican's representative to East Timor indicated on Wednesday that Pope Francis' visit, expected but not officially confirmed, would not take place this year.

Francis' weekly public hearing, normally a jovial act that fills the Vatican auditorium in St. Peter's Square with tens of thousands of people, was held this Wednesday in the privacy of his library, broadcast over the internet.

Vatican City followed Italian precautionary measures, which left the square empty. In the United States, dozens of cases were linked to a Boston conference, and leaders from several states announced bans on major events.

Universities across the country emptied their classrooms to teach classes online. Uncertainty surrounded the upcoming baseball season opener, as well as the college basketball championships.

Even the well-known Las Vegas buffets were affected, as several of the big casinos closed theirs as a precaution.

The New York governor indicated that the National Guard would clean public spaces and distribute food in a suburb where infections have soared.

In Washington state, where a nursing home near Seattle was at the center of a hotbed of infection, authorities said the virus had spread to at least 10 other residential centers.

In California, thousands of nervous passengers were still trapped aboard a cruise ship, waiting for their turn to disembark and begin their quarantines. Two men running for president of the United States suddenly canceled their rallies on Tuesday, opening the door for other campaign events to be affected.

The Trump campaign insisted it would continue as normal, although Vice President Mike Pence admitted that the new rallies would be studied "day by day."

Everything pointed to the outbreak moving west. In China, where it was first detected, authorities said they found only 24 new cases on Wednesday.

In a turnaround, China was identifying cases arriving from abroad. In Beijing, the capital, all the new infections documented on Wednesday came from abroad, five from Italy, and one from the United States.

The province most affected by the virus indicated that manufacturing businesses, food processing, and other sectors considered essential for the national economy or meeting basic needs could resume their activity.

In South Korea, the other major core of the outbreak in Asia, numbers also improved with 242 new cases announced on Wednesday. However, a new cluster of cases involving a call center in one of the capital's busiest areas, Seoul, sounded alarms.

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