WHO Declares the Coronavirus as a Pandemic

The World Health Organization (WHO) just declared the coronavirus, or COVID-19, a pandemic. This is following the spread across the world, infecting over 118,000 people across 110 countries.

According to WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, “In the past two weeks the number of cases outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries to climb even higher.”

He added, “We can not say this loudly enough or clearly enough or often enough: All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.”

First of all, what does a pandemic mean?

WHO describes a pandemic as a situation when a new disease spreads around the world beyond expectations. On the other hand, an epidemic is described as an “increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of a disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.”

It is WHO that declares whether a disease has become a pandemic. It is not clear what its requirements are, or how many infections, deaths, or countries are affected before a pandemic is declared.

However, it is important to note that it does not mean that a disease has mutated or that its characteristics have changed. It is simply concerned with its geographic spread.

Once a pandemic is declared, the chances of a community spread are higher.

So what does this mean now?

There’s no need to panic. WHO is still advising to “detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people.”

Dr Nathalie MacDermott, National Institute for Health Research academic clinical lecturer King’s College London, added, “The change of term does not alter anything practically as the world has been advised for the last few weeks to prepare for a potential pandemic, which has hopefully been taken seriously by all countries.”

She further said, “The use of this term however highlights the importance of countries throughout the world working cooperatively and openly with one another and coming together as a united front in our efforts to bring this situation under control.”

What’s the coronavirus update in the Philippines?

In the Philippines, the Department of Health (DOH) reported yesterday that it confirmed 16 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 49.

DOH assured that the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM) can perform 300 tests per day. If cases continue to increase, they can mobilize their partnership with the University of the Philippines – National Institutes of Health (UP-NIH).

the UP-NIH developed a test kit that can quickly detect the virus. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already approved the kit, and will only need the approval from WHO’s “emergency use listing” so it can be rolled out.

Note from the editor: WASH YOUR HANDS. DO NOT TOUCH YOUR MOUTH, EYES, NOSE. ISOLATE YOURSELF.

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