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WHO says coronavirus is a pandemic

The World Health Organization said for the first time on Wednesday that it now sees the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.

“We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction,” Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva on Wednesday.

“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

The coronavirus, which emerged in China in December, has spread around the world, halting industry, bringing flights to a standstill, closing schools and forcing the postponement of sporting events and concerts. Even the Tokyo Summer Olympics are in question.

A pandemic is an epidemic on a far greater geographic scale that affects a much large number of people.

Before the WHO’s comments, Britain and Italy announced multi-billion-dollar war chests to fight the disease and the United States said it was considering new steps.

By: BERTA SCHROEDER

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