After weeks of exponentially rising death and suffering worldwide, with WHO’s major funding partner Chinaperhaps having turned the corner, WHO Chief Tedros has finally decided to declare Covid-19 a Pandemic…

In his address, Tedros appeared to criticize the US administration while praising more authoritarian nations for their crackdowns…

In the past two weeks, the number of cases of #COVID19 outside 🇨🇳 has increased 13-fold and the number of affected countries has tripled.

There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives.

Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals.

In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of #COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher

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 #COVID19 can be characterized as a pandemic

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

Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do”

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.

WHO has been in full response mode since we were notified of the first cases.

We have called every day for countries to take urgent and aggressive action.

We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear

As I said on Monday, just looking at the number of COVID19 cases and the number of countries affected does not tell the full story

Of the 118,000 COVID19 cases reported globally in 114 countries, more than 90 percent of cases are in just four countries, and two of those have significantly declining epidemics

81 countries have not reported any COVID19 cases, and 57 countries have reported 10 cases or less.

We cannot say this loudly enough, or clearly enough, or often enough: all countries can still change the course of this pandemic”

If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace, and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of COVID19 cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission

Even those countries with community transmission or large clusters can turn the tide on this coronavirus.

Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.

The challenge for many countries who are now dealing with large COVID19 clusters or community transmission is not whether they can do the same – it’s whether they will.

Some countries are struggling with a lack of capacity. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resources. Some countries are struggling with a lack of resolve.

We are grateful for the measures being taken in Iran, Italy and South Korea to slow the virus and control their COVID19 epidemics.

We know that these measures are taking a heavy toll on societies and economies, just as they did in China.

All countries must strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimizing economic & social disruption & respecting human rights

WHO’s mandate is public health. But we’re working with many partners across all sectors to mitigate the social and economic consequences of this COVID19 pandemic

This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight

I have said from the beginning that countries must take a whole-of-government, whole-of-society approach, built around a comprehensive strategy to prevent infections, save lives and minimize impact

Let me summarize it in 4 key areas.

  1. Prepare and be ready.
  2. Detect, protect and treat.
  3. Reduce transmission.
  4. Innovate and learn”

I remind all countries that we are calling on you to (1):

  • activate & scale up your emergency response mechanisms
  • communicate with your people about the risks & how they can protect themselves
  • find, isolate, test & treat every #COVID19 case & trace every contact”

I remind all countries that we are calling on you to (2):

  • ready your hospitals
  • protect and train your #healthworkers
  • let’s all look out for each other”

There’s been so much attention on one word.

Let me give you some other words that matter much more, & that are much more actionable:

Prevention. Preparedness. Public health. Political leadership. And most of all, People

“We’re in this together, to do the right things with calm and protect the citizens of the world. It’s doable”

And just like that – $425 million dollars worth of pandemic bonds all got triggered.