CORONAVIRUS has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
With the total number of cases passing 126,000 and the global death toll standing at over 4,600 – WHO chief Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said they were now using the term because of concern over "alarming levels of inaction" regarding coronavirus.
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What is a pandemic?
A pandemic is a description for an infectious disease that is significantly spreading between people across multiple countries around the world at the same time.
The last time a pandemic was called was back in 2009 over the outbreak of swine flu, which experts believe killed hundreds of thousands of people.
Pandemics are more likely to refer to a brand new virus, which is able to easily infect people and spread from person to person in a quick and sustained manner.
With no vaccine or treatment currently found to prevent coronavirus, it now appears to meet all those criteria.
When was coronavirus declared a pandemic?
Coronavirus was declared as a pandemic in a media briefing by the World Health Organisation on Wednesday 11 March in Geneva, Switzerland.
The specialised agency of the United Nations is concerned with world public health.
Director General of the World Health Organization Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the number of cases outside China has increased 13-fold in just two weeks.
He added: "We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction.
"We have therefore made the assessement that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic."
What does it mean for the spread of the virus?
Before now coronavirus had only been talked about as a "threat" with "potential" for a pandemic, but the classification has been upgraded with cases in over 100 countries and increasing numbers not linked to travel.
The WHO will want this to be a wake-up call to countries to respond accordingly and for some to step up their measures.
However, the WHO has not made any changes to their guidance or the threat level of the virus.
The use of the word pandemic highlights the importance of coronavirus around the world and puts the impetus on everyone to deal with it.
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