COVID-19 Now Pandemic: WHO

Why in News

According to the latest assessment of the World Health Organisation (WHO), COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic now.

  • According to the WHO, a pandemic is declared when a new disease for which people do not have immunity spreads around the world beyond expectations.
  • On the other hand, an epidemic is a large outbreak, one that spreads among a population or region. It is less severe than pandemic due to a limited area of spread.

Key Points

  • WHO noted with concern that 1,18,000 positive cases have been reported globally in 114 countries and more than 90% of cases are in just four countries.
    • 81 countries had not reported any cases and 57 countries had reported 10 cases or less.

Preventive Measures by India

  • The Indian government has issued a new travel advisory stating that all existing visas, except diplomatic, official, U.N./International Organisations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April, beginning from 13th March.
  • Visa-free travel facility granted to OCI cardholders is also suspended for the same duration.
  • Any foreign national who intends to travel to India for compelling reason may contact the nearest Indian Mission.
  • All incoming travellers, including Indian nationals, arriving from or having visited China, Italy, Iran, Republic of Korea, France, Spain and Germany after 15th Feb shall be quarantined for a minimum period of 14 days.
  • International traffic through land borders will be restricted as well.
  • The Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has issued an advisory to take all necessary steps in public transport vehicles to ensure sanitation of seats, handles and bars.
  • India will send a team of doctors to Italy for testing its nationals for coronavirus to bring them back, while samples of 529 more people have been brought from Iran.
  • The Union Home Ministry has transferred some of its power to the Union Health Ministry for tackling the COVID-19 if the outbreak turns out to be a disaster of national proportions.

Source: TH