Home Health March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 Pandemic

March 11: World Health Organization declares COVID-19 Pandemic

"First time a pandemic has been sparked by a coronavirus" - WHO D-G

Wednesday March 11, 2020 ~ GLOBAL

by Mary Brooke ~ West Shore Voice News

The World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared the outbreak of COVID-19 as a pandemic, in a statement March 11, 2020 from their headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

WHO director-general Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus made the announcement: “Over the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased thirteenfold and the number of affected countries has tripled,” he said.

He also said WHO is “deeply concerned” about “the alarming levels of spread and severity and the alarming levels of inaction”.

“We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time,” the WHO D-G said.

Controlling the virus is possible because its means of transmission is relatively well understood (through coughs/sneezes up to 2-metre distance, and by picking it up off surfaces then touching one’s face).

“WHO has in full response mode since being notified of the first cases and we have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action,” he said.

Today March 11, WHO reported “over 118,000 confirmed cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives”. That total count is up quite a lot from yesterday.

WHO Situation Report #50
WHO Situation Report #50 with statistics to March 10, 2020

The WHO Situation Report yesterday (#50 on March 10, 2020) specifically showed 113,702 confirmed cases globally, 32,778 of which are outside China (in 109 countries). There have been 872 deaths outside China which was the epicenter of the disease.

As of this morning March 11 in Canada there are 101 confirmed cases: 39 in BC, 14 in Alberta, 41 in Ontario and seven in Quebec.

This morning Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced funding of $1 billion to the provinces to help health care delivery be robust. To help with economic impacts on people who need to stay home from work, the one-week waiting period on Employment Insurance claims has been waived.

The next joint update for BC by Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry and Health Minister Adrian Dix will be at 3:30 pm today March 11. Since March 9 these BC Health updates are being held daily.

BC has been ahead of the curve with ‘chasing down’ the contact trail of confirmed COVID-19 cases. But with the WHO declaration of a pandemic there will — by necessity — a shift to dealing with the likely rise in volume of COVID-19 infection, with a greater emphasis on insisting more strict social distancing.

BC Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada have protocols for assisting organizations with risk assessment for deciding whether or not to hold events.

=== LINKS

BC announces seven new cases of COVID-19 for total of 39 (March 10, 2020)

Pandemic Plan is in place in BC, says Premier (article about 2-hour BC Health media announcement on March 6, 2020)

COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and planning materials: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/health/about-bc-s-health-care-system/office-of-the-provincial-health-officer/current-health-topics/pandemic-influenza.

Recommendations on protecting yourself and your community, visit: http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/coronavirus-(novel)

For more information and latest updates on COVID-19, follow the BC Centre for Disease Control on Twitter @CDCofBC or visit http://www.bccdc.ca/