WHO declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic

The coronavirus outbreak originating from Wuhan in China has been declared a pandemic by World Health Organisation (WHO) on Wednesday, March 11.

Cases outside China have increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled, said WHO. 

"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news conference. 

He was also quoted in media reports emphasising that countries "can still change the course of this pandemic". As COVID-19 is more than just a public health crisis, but one that will touch every sector, "every sector and every individual must be involved in the fights.”

WHO defines a pandemic as a worldwide spread of a new disease. Before Covid-19, the H1N1 outbreak in 2009 was the last pandemic declared by WHO.