The World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus a pandemic, but is urging people not to panic because of it.

Up until now, the organisation had avoided using the term, appearing to want to hold off on creating added alarm around the spread of the virus.

But despite the new label, WHO is confident that the seemingly inexorable path of the virus can still be changed.

“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic,” WHO chief Tedros Ghebreyesus said in Geneva earlier this morning.

“If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilise their people in the response.”

Although it wasn’t all optimism from the organisation, with one executive offering a guarantee that other countries will soon be in the same situation as Italy, China and Iran.

More than 121,000 people have now been infected worldwide and over 4,300 people have now died from the virus.


Four new coronavirus cases were confirmed in NSW on Wednesday afternoon, taking the state’s total to 65.

The new COVID-19 patients include three women in their 20s and 30s who recently returned from Italy together.

The fourth – a man in his 70s – had contact with a resident at the Dorothy Henderson Lodge nursing home, where two residents have died after becoming infected with the virus.

NSW authorities have been investigating a coronavirus cluster in Sydney’s northwest centred on Ryde Hospital and Dorothy Henderson Lodge.