World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a daily press briefing on COVID-19 at the WHO headquarters in Geneva [Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

The new coronavirus outbreak “is a controllable pandemic” if countries step up measures to tackle it, the head of the World Health Organization said on Thursday.

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus acknowledged the global outbreak of the new coronavirus could now be considered a pandemic – a disease actively spreading globally.

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But he told diplomats in Geneva that describing the contagion as a pandemic should not mean countries give up the fight to stop it from spreading further.

“This is a controllable pandemic,” he said. “We are deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with

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