On Wednesday, the World Health Organization officially declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a global pandemic.
Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, said in the past two weeks the number of cases has increased thirteen-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled.
“Pandemic is not a word to use lightly or carelessly. It is a word that, if misused, can cause unreasonable fear, or unjustified acceptance that the fight is over, leading to unnecessary suffering and death.”
There are now more than 118,000 cases in more than 114 countries. Ghebreyesus said that 4,291 people have died from the virus.
“All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic and social disruption, and respecting human rights.”
“WHO’s mandate is public health” added Ghebreyesus. “But we’re working with many partners across all sectors to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this pandemic.”
Ghebreyesus said the organization expects to see in the days and weeks ahead the number of cases, the number of deaths and the number of affected countries climb even higher and they are deeply concerned by the alarming speed of infection and severity of cases.
As of Wednesday, March 10, 2020, Canada had 93 total cases of COVID-19, with 39 confirmed cases in British Columbia and the only Canadian death from the novel coronavirus.
Ontario has 36 cases, Alberta has 14 and Quebec has four.
More: WHO Director-General’s Statement (World Health Organization)
More: Canadian Coronavirus Outbreak Update (Government of Canada)
*** Story by Wendy Gray/Bradley Jones ***