World Health Organization director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus today said, the sudden rise in novel coronavirus cases in Italy, Iran and South Korea is deeply concerning, but the virus can still be contained and does not amount to a pandemic. COVID-19 infections linked to Iran have been confirmed in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, while cases tied to Italy have been found in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, he said.

According to WHO, for the first time yesterday, 427 new cases in 37 countries officially reported outside China, has exceeded new cases reported by Beijing being 411. Dr. Tedros said that we should not be too eager to declare a pandemic without a careful and clear-minded analysis of the facts.

The WHO chief said that using the word pandemic carelessly has no tangible benefit, but it does have significant risk in terms of amplifying unnecessary and unjustified fear and stigma, and paralysing systems. He added that it may also signal that we can no longer contain the virus, which is not true.

On January 30, the WHO had declared COVID 19 a public health emergency of international concern, WHO's highest level of alarm.

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