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Since AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF) released a statement this past Tuesday calling for World Health Organization Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to declare the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic – cases have soared in Italy, Iran and South Korea, and the deadly virus has also spread toMexico and Nigeria. WHO must immediately declare COVID-19 a pandemic.
AHF also calls on United Nations Secretary General António Guterres to immediately convene an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council (UNSC), as COVID-19 has now spread to over 50 countries worldwide, further threatening global security and the response.
“Whether it’s WHO declaring the coronavirus a pandemic, or ensuring emergency supplies are readily available globally – the United Nations must step up its actions on the entire outbreak response,” said AHF President Michael Weinstein. “All available assets and proven public health interventions must be rapidly deployed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and protect the frontline responders—because as we’ve seen in past infectious disease outbreaks, like Ebola in West and East Africa—when people and organizations fail to act responsively, thousands of people needlessly die and entire communities and regions are left devastated.”
COVID-19 cases worldwide have reached nearly 84,000, resulting in nearly 2,900 deaths. While cases in China are decreasing, more and more countries, including Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania, Netherlands, Mexico and Nigeria are steadily reporting new cases.
“When a deadly pathogen is killing thousands of people across dozens of countries on every continent except for Antarctica – it’s a no brainer – this is clearly a pandemic,” added Weinstein. “Our entire focus must now shift to doing all that’s necessary to save lives.”