The number of countries with coronavirus reached 100 on 09 March, in less than three months of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in China in December 2019. The list got longer to 113 within two days, with 13 more countries added by 11 March.
Nearly 35% of the confirmed global Covid-19 cases are currently outside China (full details here). Five new countries including Turkey, Jamaica, Honduras, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Bolivia announced the first confirmed cases on 10 March. Cuba, Ivory Coast and Guyana joined the countries with coronavirus on 11 March.
Furthermore, the daily number of cases reported outside China is currently much higher than those reported in China signifying the global spread and possible worsening of the epidemic in the days to come.
Novel coronavirus now a pandemic: WHO
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak (Covid-19) as a pandemic on 11 March. The WHO commented that inaction by countries is as worrying as the coronavirus itself.
What is a pandemic and why WHO termed Covid-19 as a pandemic
A disease outbreak is termed as a pandemic when it goes uncontained spreading across the world.
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The 2019 coronavirus outbreak was not termed pandemic earlier because of its presence in limited countries and perceived slower transmission.
The WHO had expected that the Covid-19 had pandemic potential but didn’t term it so since it believed effective containment measures through early and rapid response would control its spread.
Spread to 58% of the countries in the world and delayed/insufficient measures resulting in containing further spread have led to the WHO treating the disease as a pandemic meaning that governments will have to take more stringent steps to contain the disease.
The world has not witnessed a pandemic since the 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine flu) outbreak.
Covid-19: Countries with the highest coronavirus cases
Coronavirus cases outside China are currently the highest in Italy, followed by Iran, South Korea, France and Spain.
Italy and Iran are currently witnessing a big surge in coronavirus cases and have overtaken South Korea, while Spanish coronavirus cases have crossed Germany’s.
Italy currently has the highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the European Union (EU). Lockdowns and travel restrictions, which were limited to China at the beginning of 2020, have become a common thing in other coronavirus-affected countries such as Italy.
Covid-19 cases in France, Spain and Germany in the EU surged past 1,000 over the weekend recording the second, third and fourth highest number of cases in Europe.
Among the Middle East countries, Iran has the highest coronavirus cases. A significant number of countries trace their first coronavirus cases to Iran.
Coronavirus is yet to reach Syria and Yemen in the Middle East, but it may just be a matter of time.
The UK and the US, which joined the coronavirus countries list late and had cases in double-digit for most of February now have 459 and 1,312 cases, respectively. US Covid-19 reported cases are expected to increase further over this week as more test kits become available across states.
Coronavirus death toll: which countries have the highest deaths?
Deaths caused by coronavirus outside China are currently the highest in Italy (827), Iran (354) and South Korea (60) followed by Spain and France. The US is among the top ten outside China, having recorded more than 30 deaths.
Coronavirus-related deaths in China crossed 3,000 in the first week of March and currently stand at 3,158.