The unprecedented outbreak of the deadly novel Coronavirus has now infected at least 83,000 people globally and has caused 2,800 deaths as of February 28. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has officially named the virus COVID-19 while reportedly referring to its origin in late December, last year and the Coronavirus that causes it.
The latest figures reported by health authorities of different countries on Friday suggest that the virus has caused 2,788 deaths in mainland China and now the total number of cases is above 78,000. Most of the newer cases still remain mainly concentrated in the central province of China, Hubei. However, clusters in South Korea and Iran have also erupted.
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 at least 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.