World Health Organisation (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus emphasized that despite the "concerning" rise in confirmed coronavirus (COVID-19) cases around the world, it was still incorrect to call the outbreak a pandemic. He made the remarks while speaking to the press in Geneva on Monday.
"The sudden increase in new (virus) cases is certainly very concerning. I have spoken consistently about the need for facts, not fear. Using the word 'pandemic' now does not fit the facts, but it may certainly cause fear," he said.
WHO Emergencies Programme Director Michael Ryan said "there is still a possibility that we can contain the virus and interrupt its trends and interrupt its transmission," and further explained that "it is not possible to say" which trajectory the spread of the virus will take, whether that be settling into an "endemic pattern of transmission" or accelerating "into a full-blown global pandemic."
Ryan also noted that there is "a team arriving in Iran tomorrow and our regional director will actually be there tomorrow as well. And a team arriving in Italy as we speak."
According to the latest reports by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), nearly 80,000 people have been infected by the COVID-19 so far and over 2,600 people have died.