Amid the unprecedented coronavirus outbreak, Qatar's health ministry on February 29 reportedly confirmed its first case of coronavirus infection. Meanwhile, the death toll in China has surpassed 2,800 and the National Health Commission reportedly confirmed 427 new cases. The total number of confirmed cases within China also hit nearly 79,000 and more than 83,000 worldwide.
First detected in the city of Wuhan, in Hubei Province of China, the virus outbreak has now spread across more than 40 countries since December 2019. More than 1,700 people have recovered from the disease, whereas, nearly 12,000 coronavirus patients have by now been discharged from hospitals. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has dubbed the virus as COVID-19.
The economy has been severely affected by the ongoing crisis of the coronavirus outbreak with the global markets witnessing reportedly their worst week since the 2008 global financial crisis. The virus fears have pushed the stocks down for the seventh consecutive day. Meanwhile, at the heart of the biggest outbreak outside China, South Korean officials are still struggling to find at least 3,000 members of a religious group which practises an offshoot of Christianity.
With businesses and companies either shutting down stores or cancelling their major events to contain the spread of the fatal virus, it has already reached more than 50 countries with Antarctica being the only continent left 'virus-free'. WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has also said that the officials “should not be too eager to declare a pandemic” in the absence of “clear-minded analysis of the facts”.
However, the UN health agency has still declared its highest level of alarm which is a public health emergency of international concern. Using the word 'pandemic' could give people a signal that the Coronavirus can no longer be contained, but Ghebreyesus said that it “is not true”.
According to the official website, Ghebreyesus explained, “Using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have a significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma, and paralyzing systems”. However, he later added that the organisation will not “hesitate” in declaring the outbreak a pandemic if “it is an accurate description of the situation”. The UN health agency is closely monitoring the epidemic.