World Health Organization declares COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic

More than 120,000 people across the world have been diagnosed

In this Tuesday, March, 10, 2020 photo, paramedics test samples taken from patients suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, at a laboratory in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, Iran. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Amin Nazari/ISNA via AP)
In this Tuesday, March, 10, 2020 photo, paramedics test samples taken from patients suspected of being infected with the new coronavirus, at a laboratory in the southwestern city of Ahvaz, Iran. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Amin Nazari/ISNA via AP)

GENEVA – Expressing increasing alarm about mounting infections, the World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic.

This comes as more than 120,000 people across the world have been diagnosed with the coronavirus.

[Interactive map from Johns Hopkins shows how coronavirus is spreading in real-time]

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, who heads the U.N. agency, said the WHO is “deeply concerned by the alarming levels of spread and severity” of the outbreak. He also expressed concern about “the alarming levels of inaction.”

“We have, therefore, made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterized as a pandemic," he said at a briefing in Geneva.

Virginia currently has nine “presumptively positive” cases of COVID-19. This means they are pending confirmatory testing by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

[Where are Virginia’s coronavirus cases? The latest from the health department]

“All countries can still change the course of this pandemic. If countries detect, test, treat, isolate, trace and mobilize their people in the response,” Tedros said.