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Two years on, WHO still stunned by world’s lack of action to its COVID alert


The once-in-a-century pandemic has turned the world upside down, claiming more than six million lives and infecting at least 450 million people.

World Health Organisation. Picture: UN Photo

JOHANNESBURG – Friday, 11 March marks exactly two years since the World Health Organization first declared COVID-19 a pandemic, shaking countries into action as the disease rippled around the globe.

The once-in-a-century pandemic has turned the world upside down, claiming more than six million lives and infecting at least 450 million people.

It was only when WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus described the worsening situation of the virus as a pandemic on
11 March 2020, that many countries woke up to the scale of the danger.

In January 2020, the WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern, which is the highest level of alarm in terms of global regulations.

By that time, outside of China, fewer than 100 cases were reported and there weren’t any deaths.

But the WHO said that the warning in January 2020 was more important than declaring it a pandemic in March that same year.

The WHO said that it was most stunned by the lack of urgency in relation to the organisation’s highest level of alert of international law.

By this time two years ago, the number of cases outside of China had increased 13-fold and more than 118,000 people infected in 114 countries.

Sadly, over 4,000 people had lost their lives already.

Today, six million people have died and the WHO said that the world had not even started to grieve at a global level.





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