WHO says coronavirus outbreak has "pandemic potential"

WHO says coronavirus outbreak has

PanARMENIAN.Net - The deadly outbreak of a novel coronavirus has the world on edge, but it has not yet developed into a pandemic, according to the World Health Organization.

Although WHO has declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of international concern," the outbreak has not met the criteria needed to be described as a pandemic when it comes to its geographical spread and impact, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a press briefing with reporters on Monday.

"Our decision about whether to use the word 'pandemic' to describe an epidemic is based on an ongoing assessment of the geographical spread of the virus, the severity of disease it causes and the impact it has on the whole society," Ghebreyesus said during the briefing, CNN reports.

"For the moment, we are not witnessing the uncontained global spread of this virus and we are not witnessing large-scale severe disease or deaths," he said. "Does this virus have pandemic potential? Absolutely it has. Are we there yet from our assessment? Not yet.

"So how should we describe the current situation? What we see are epidemics in different parts of the world, affecting countries in different ways and requiring a tailored response."

As of Monday, more than 79,000 people have been infected and more than 2,600 people have died around the world from the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to WHO.

In January, WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern, which WHO defines as "an extraordinary event" that constitutes a "public health risk to other States through the international spread of disease" and "to potentially require a coordinated international response." Previous emergencies have included Ebola, Zika and H1N1.

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