The WHO declared the coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic. WHO said the outbreak is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus.
The World Health Organization on 11 March 2020 declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic.
"We have never before seen a pandemic sparked by a coronavirus. And we have never before seen a pandemic that can be controlled at the same time," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHO's assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesn't change what WHO is doing, and it doesn't change what countries should do."
If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response, those with a handful of novel coronavirus cases can prevent those cases becoming clusters, and those clusters becoming community transmission, Ghebreyesus said.
"Several countries have demonstrated that this virus can be suppressed and controlled," Ghebreyesus said.
A pandemic is defined as the "worldwide spread" of a new disease. Whereas, an outbreak is the occurrence of disease cases in excess of what's normally expected and an epidemic is more than a normal number cases of an illness, specific health-related behavior or other health-related events in a community or region, according to the World Health Organization.
In January 2020, the WHO declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a public health emergency of international concern. CNN announced that it is using the term pandemic to describe the current coronavirus outbreak.