GENEVA, March 9 (CGTN) - The coronavirus is closer to causing a pandemic but outbreaks in countries can still be controlled through a combination of containment and mitigation measures, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Monday.
“Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told a news conference. “But it would be the first pandemic that could be controlled. The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of the virus.”
While the virus is slowing in China where it originated in December, it's picking up pace across other parts of the world, spreading to more than 100 countries with more than 111,000 confirmed cases. Korea has the most cases outside of China with roughly 7,500 infections, followed closely behind by Italy and Iran, which all had more than 7,000 COVID-19 cases as of Monday morning, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Four countries account for 93% of the nearly 110,000 cases worldwide, Tedros said. “We are encouraged that Italy is taking aggressive measures to contain its epidemic and we hope that those measures prove effective in the coming days,” he added.