New York and the World (Bloomberg) — The W.H.O. officially declared the coronavirus a pandemic, with the number of worldwide cases topping 120,000 and deaths exceeding 4,300.
The coronavirus outbreak is now a pandemic, the World Health Organization declared, urging governments to step up containment efforts as the number of worldwide cases topped 120,000 and deaths exceeded 4,300.
The United Nations body had previously stopped short of such a designation as the illness spread from China, with major outbreaks in South Korea, Iran and Italy, where deaths due to the virus surged past 800 on Wednesday. The infection is now gaining ground across Europe and the U.S.
“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing. “Those with a handful of cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters and those clusters becoming community transmission.”
The new coronavirus is the cause of the first pandemic since 2009, when a novel influenza strain swept across the world, infecting millions of people.