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WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on COVID-19 - 11 March 2020

2020-03-11

In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China 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 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.
WHO has therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic. 

Let me summarize it in four key areas. 
First, prepare and be ready.
Second, detect, protect and treat.
Third, reduce transmission.
Fourth, innovate and learn.