Big Island Coronavirus Updates

WHO Declares COVID-19 Outbreak a Pandemic

March 11, 2020, 7:04 AM HST
* Updated March 12, 6:43 PM
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The World Health Organization has declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic.

The announcement came during a media briefing this morning.

“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 Dr. Tedros Adhanom, Director general of the World Health Organization.

In the past two weeks, Adhanom said, the number of COVID-19 cases 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.

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“Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals,” Adhanom added. “In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of COVID19 cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.”

Wuhan, China was the epicenter for the coronavirus.

“Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO’s assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn’t change what WHO is doing, and it doesn’t change what countries should do,” Adhanom said.

Here in Hawai‘i, there are two confirmed cases for the virus on O‘ahu. The first was announced on March 6. the Man was a passenger on the Grand Princess cruise in Mexico from Feb. 11-21. He began showing symptoms upon his return home and was diagnosed with COVID-19.

He is currently isolated at home and being monitored daily by the Hawai‘i Department of Health.

The second case was reported on March 8. DOH officials say the elderly adult was hospitalized and is in serious condition after falling ill upon his return home from Washington State.

On Tuesday, DOH tested two individuals for coronavirus, which turned out negative.

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