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Coronavirus ‘most severe health emergency’ WHO has faced

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said Covid-19 is easily the most severe global health emergency it has ever declared.

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he would reconvene the WHO's emergency committee this week to review its assessment of the pandemic.

There have been five other global health emergencies: Ebola (two outbreaks), Zika, polio and swine flu.

More than 16m cases of Covid-19 have been reported since January.

"When I declared a public health emergency of international concern on 30 January… there were less than 100 cases outside of China, and no deaths," Dr Tedros said.

"Covid-19 has changed our world. It has brought people, communities and nations together, and driven them apart."

"This is the sixth time a global health emergency has been declared under the international health regulations, but it's easily the most severe. [More than] 16m cases have now been reported to WHO and more than 640,000 deaths, and the pandemic continues to accelerate.

"In the past six weeks, the total number of cases has roughly doubled," he added.

Although the world had made a huge effort in fighting the virus, there remained "a long hard road ahead of us", he added.

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