The World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced that the COVID-19 outbreak can be viewed as a pandemic.
The WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged all countries to activate and scale up emergency response mechanisms.
"This is not just a public health crisis, it is a crisis that will touch every sector – so every sector and every individual must be involved in the fight," he stressed.
According to the WHO, there are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, with 4,291 deaths.
Meanwhile, in China, where the novel coronavirus was first detected in December and has since claimed that lives of more than 3,000 people, the situation with the spread of new infections has slightly improved. Still, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases outside China is growing rapidly, with Italy and Iran being at the top of the list regarding the death toll with 827 and 354 fatalities respectively.
Schools and universities have been closed in many affected countries worldwide while sporting events and large-scale political and economic gatherings have been cancelled. Major airliners are suspending or reducing flights to the countries with the biggest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases.