The World Health Organization has today finally declared the coronavirus outbreak as a pandemic.
It comes after the UN agency warned yesterday the threat of the killer infection triggering a worldwide pandemic is now ‘very real’.
More than 112,000 people around the world have now been infected with the coronavirus, which can cause pneumonia, and at least 4,000 have died.
The number of new cases being diagnosed in China is now falling but outbreaks are surging elsewhere in the world, particularly in Europe and Iran.
The specific definition of a pandemic are not universally agreed upon, but there are three main criteria – sustained person-to-person transmission, evidence of world-wide spread and a disease that can cause sudden illness or death.
COVID-19 is a mild flu-like illness for the overwhelming majority (98 per cent) of people who contract it, which may explain the reluctance to call it a pandemic.