WHO declares a global coronavirus pandemic as first cases are confirmed in DRC and Burkina Faso

The rapidly spreading outbreak of the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has been declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization, the UN body coordinating the global health response.

By declaring a coronavirus pandemic, the WHO is acknowledging the vast scope of the disease and its spread from human to human over several continents.

“WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and we are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic.” 

Coronavirus has already been detected in several countries in Africa, including the first confirmed cases in Burkina Faso and the Democratic Republic of Congo, where Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health currently work.

Applying lessons learned in the Ebola response, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health are mounting efforts to counter the already rampant disinformation about COVID-19. In the recent Ebola outbreak, distrust between the population and the medical community hindered detection, contact tracing and treatment, and led to further spread of the disease. To combat misinformation and mistrust, health associations will be provided with informative messaging on the virus and what to do to prevent it that can be widely disseminated to the public on easily accessible communications and social media platforms, such as WhatsApp.

In addition, Lutheran World Relief and IMA World Health will train health workers on how to protect themselves as they are treating suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases and will equip facilities with the supplies they need to apply proven infection prevention practices.

Your love and compassion will provide the resources our staff and our partners need to keep families safe, and if any are infected, to nurse them back to health. Your gift to our World of Good fund today helps keep this work going at pace.

We must not slow down now. We will work relentlessly to protect families, until your love reaches every neighbor.

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