"We are deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity and by the alarming levels of inaction. We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference on Wednesday.
Saudi Arabia, which along with Kuwait suspended all international flights and closed most public spaces, said it was considering suspending work for the private sector after doing so for the government sector, except health and security.
"We hope citizens will stay at home and not go out unless needed," Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al Rabiah told a news conference on Monday.
"The Prime Minister is in good health with no symptoms. As a precautionary measure and following the advice of doctors, he will be in isolation for a planned period of 14 days," the statement added.
Coronavirus death toll on Sunday shot up by 133 to 366. Tens of millions of people are now in virtual quarantine worldwide but there are fears that the disease will spread further and that disruptions could force several economies into recession.
The Louvre in Paris, the world’s most visited museum, closed to visitors on Sunday after staff refused to work due to coronavirus fears, unions and management said.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Thursday that several countries were not showing "the level of political commitment" needed to "match the level of the threat we all face." "This is not a drill," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters. "This epidemic is a threat for every country, rich and poor."
That’s according to Iran Health Ministry spokesman Ali Reza Azizi, who gave the figure at a news conference Monday in Tehran. Iran has the highest death toll from the virus outside of China, the epicenter of the outbreak.
The coronavirus outbreak has affected many lives of professionals and homemakers alike the world over. However, there are some people who carry on with their plans, particularly those wishing to go overseas either on official or company work or spend holidays.
The pilgrims were also barred from "visits to the Prophet's mosque in Medina," according to a foreign ministry tweet.
The legislation provides federal public health agencies with money for vaccines, tests and potential treatments and helps state and local governments prepare and respond to the threat. The rapid spread of the virus has rocked financial markets, interrupted travel and threatens to affect everyday life in the United States.