Tuesday 10 March 2020 3:06 AM UTC
NEW YORK March 10: The threat of the coronavirus triggering a worldwide pandemic is now ‘very real’, the World Health Organization has warned.
The WHO’s director-general, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in a conference today that humanity is not ‘at the mercy’ of the virus and even a pandemic would be controllable.
More than 111,000 people around the world have now been infected with the coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia, and at least 3,892 have died.
The number of new cases being diagnosed in China is now falling but outbreaks are surging elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and Iran.
The specific definition of a pandemic are not universally agreed upon, but there are three main criteria – sustained person-to-person transmission, evidence of world-wide spread and a disease that can cause sudden illness or death.
COVID-19 is a mild flu-like illness for the overwhelming majority (98 per cent) of people who contract it, which may explain the reluctance to call it a pandemic.
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