Daily Express

‘ Sounding alarm to the world’ as experts declare a pandemic

- By Mark Reynolds

CORONAVIRU­S was officially labelled a pandemic by the World Health Organisati­on yesterday.

It is the first disease to spread out of control in multiple countries at the same time since the 2009 swine flu outbreak.

Yesterday’s efforts to contain coronaviru­s centred on Europe, where deaths from the disease rose from 196 to 827 in Italy in one day alone. There are 12,462 confirmed cases in the country.

In China, where the illness was first detected, just 19 new infections were recorded on Tuesday, its lowest number.

Around the world there were more than 125,815 cases last night, with 4,607 deaths in total.

The figures for the UK were 460 cases and eight deaths.

Dr Tedros Adhanom, directorge­neral of the World Health Organisati­on ( WHO) said it was “sounding the alarm to the world” by declaring a pandemic.

He revealed that the number of diagnoses outside China had increased 13- fold in the last two weeks alone and he was “deeply

‘ All countries can change course. The challenge is whether they will’

concerned” by “alarming levels of inaction” in some countries, which he did not name.

He added: “All countries can change the course of this pandemic. Several countries have demonstrat­ed that this virus can be suppressed and controlled.

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

Government­s now need to urgently “strike a fine balance between protecting health, minimising disruption and respecting human life”, he said.

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

He spoke as outbreaks continued to spiral in France ( 2,281 cases by last night and 48 deaths), Spain ( 2,222 cases and 52 deaths) and Germany ( 1,908 cases and three deaths).

France’s president Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation after a conference call with EU leaders, saying they will do everything that is needed to slow the disease’s spread. He also said “we mustn’t give in to panic” and criticised Austria and Slovenia for closing their borders with Italy.

In Germany, the health minister Jens Spahn admitted that sealing the country’s borders to prevent the spread of the virus would not work. Earlier this week German chancellor Angela Merkel warned that up to 70 per cent of the country – some 58 million people – could become infected. She later stressed that since there was no known cure, “it’s about winning time”. Elsewhere yesterday, a British woman was confirmed to be the first person in Indonesia to have died of coronaviru­s.

Indonesian officials announced that the 53- year- old, who also had diabetes and lung disease, had died in hospital after being admitted in a critical condition on the island of Bali. A Foreign Office spokesman said it was supporting her family. Her husband, also in Indonesia, is due to fly back soon.

Meanwhile, two Britons were in hospital in Japan after testing positive for coronaviru­s on the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

A third British national on board died last month while a fourth has returned to the UK.

In China, officials announced that some of its key industries in Wuhan, the city where the out

 ?? Pictures: AVALON RED / EPA ?? Good reason to cheer... the last patient leaves the only remaining temporary hospital in Wuhan yesterday
Pictures: AVALON RED / EPA Good reason to cheer... the last patient leaves the only remaining temporary hospital in Wuhan yesterday
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