March 11, 2020

In the March 11, 2020 briefing, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic.

More than 118,000 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across 114 countries. During the opening remarks of the March 11 media briefing, WHO Director-General provided a summary of the COVID-19 global impact.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.”

As new data is available, new analysis is available.

In late-February, WHO indicated they were no longer using the term, “pandemic,” as a category to describe disease transmission. Today’s change in posture aligns with the current state of COVID-19 globally.

The Director-General also stated, “Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this virus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do.”

It’s important to note that the WHO expects the number of cases and affected countries to increase in the coming weeks. “Of the 118,000 cases reported globally in 114 countries [as of March 11], more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those – China and the Republic of Korea - have significantly declining epidemics. Eighty-one countries have not reported any cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less. […] Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.” WorldAware continues to monitor the situation. Get the latest intelligence alerts, travel restrictions, airline route restrictions, and more: COVID-19 Intelligence Resource Center.

For more information about this decision and for a transcript of WHO’s media briefing, visit: World Health Organization.


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