The WHO said it was too early to call the outbreak of corona virus a pandemic but countries should be “in a phase of preparedness” in case it gets out of hand.
A pandemic is when an infectious disease spreads easily from person to person in many parts of the world.
More cases of the virus, which causes respiratory disease Covid-19, continue to emerge, with outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran causing concern.
However, most infections are in China, the original source of the virus, where more than 77,000 people have the disease and over 2,600 have died.
More than 1,200 cases have been confirmed in about 30 other countries and there have been more than 20 deaths. Italy reported four more deaths on Monday, raising the total there to seven.
Due to concerns about the economic impact of the virus. Worldwide stock markets saw sharp falls
China said it would postpone the annual meeting of the National People’s Congress next month, to “continue the efforts” against the coronavirus.
A pandemic is the worldwide spread of a new disease
The H1N1 (swine flu) outbreak, which killed hundreds of thousands of people, was declared a pandemic by the WHO in 2009
The WHO no longer formally labels an outbreak of disease a “pandemic” but says the term may be used “colloquially”
Its advice to countries – to limit the infections while preparing for wider spread – remains the same