On 2 February, the WHO declared there was a "massive infodemic" accompanying the outbreak and response, citing an over-abundance of reported information, accurate and false, about the virus that "makes it hard for people to find trustworthy sources and reliable guidance when they need it." The WHO stated that the high demand for timely and trustworthy information has incentivized the creation of a direct WHO 24/7 myth-busting hotline where its communication and social media teams have been monitoring and responding to misinformation through its website and social media pages.
On 25 February, the WHO declared that "the world should do more to prepare for a possible coronavirus pandemic," stating that while it was still too early to call it a pandemic, countries should nonetheless be "in a phase of preparedness." In response to a developing case of the outbreak of the coronavirus in Iran, the WHO has sent a Joint Mission Team there on the same day to assess the situation in the country.
On 28 February, WHO officials said that the coronavirus threat assessment at the global level will be raised from "high" to "very high," its highest level of alert and risk assessment. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergency program, warned in a statement that "This is a reality check for every government on the planet: Wake up. Get ready. This virus may be on its way and you need to be ready. You have a duty to your citizens, you have a duty to the world to be ready," urging that the right response measures could help the world avoid “the worst of it." Ryan further stated that the current data does not warrant public health officials to declare a global pandemic, saying that the declaration would mean "we’re essentially accepting that every human on the planet will be exposed to that virus."