WHO: Covid-19 is pandemic but controllable; Syrian authorities deny any cases

GENEVA – Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of U.N. World Health Organization (WHO), announced that the WHO now considers COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, a pandemic.

COVID-19 has infected more than 110,000 people worldwide since December 2019 amid an unsuccessful global effort to contain the virus. While a number of tests have been developed to detect the virus – the latest developed by the Cleveland Clinic only takes 8 hours to produce a result – a vaccine won’t be available for at least a year.

Despite the recent statement, WHO stressed that the global COVID-19 pandemic is still controllable.

At a press conference in Geneva, Ghebreyesus stated that they are deeply concerned about the alarming inaction by governments and businesses around the world and stressed the gravity of the situation.

“This is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled, at the same time,” said Ghebreyesus.

In related news, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported 62 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Syrian governorates of Latakia, Tartus, Homs, and Damascus.

According to SOHR Director Rami Abdulrahman, “There is a quarantine in the Al-Basel Hospital in Tartous, the National Hospital in Latakia, and the hospitals of Homs and Damascus.”

He added, “… the majority of cases are from Iranian militias and Iranian and Iraqi visitors.”

However, in a press statement, Syrian Minister of Health Dr. Nizar Yazigi denied any confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Syria, noting that any suspected cases are directly sent to laboratories which have been provided with the necessary supplies.

After speaking with doctors at hospitals in the regions affected, SOHR reported that doctors confirmed they had been given strict instruction from Syrian government authorities to avoid disclosing any COVID-19 infections.

Doctors and paramedics in northern and western Syria are concerned about the spread of COVID-19 in the overcrowded camps for displaced people where healthcare infrastructure is already overburdened or non-existent.