2019-nCOV situation: 4 Feb 2020


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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

2019-nCOV situation: 4 Feb 2020

Welcome to this special issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on 2019-nCVO situation

Please send your feedback, articles and reports, or questions you would like to share to Dr. Chadia Wannous via email  cwannous@yahoo.com  

Wishing you useful reading!


2019-nCOV Outbreak Situation

Situation updates:
WHO situation report no 15

  • No new countries reported cases of 2019-nCoV in the 24 hourssince the previous situation report.
  • The business sectoris one audience to whom EPI-WIN is reaching out with tailored information. EPI-WIN colleagues co-hosted a call with a global communications firm whose clients include large multinationals. Over 50 multinationals were represented on the call,where WHO provided an update of the 2019-nCoV situation and responded to questions about improving communications with employees; the role of businesses in public health crises; and managing uncertainty through accessing accurate information
    • China         Very High
    • Regional Level   High
    • Global Level.      High


The Chinese National Health Commission
is reporting 3,235 new confirmed infections, bringing the total to 20,438. Of those, 2,788 (14%) are in serious condition. The NHC has also reported 425 deaths and 632 discharges. Hong Kong has reported 15 cases, Macao has 8 cases, and Taiwan has 10 cases. There are 171,329 individuals under medical observation. 

China nCoV surge tops 17,000 as more vaccine support announced
In a new Q&A, the WHO answers common questions and dispels myths.
More »

US confirms 11th nCoV case; 82 awaiting test results
"The virus will continue to expand, given the explosive nature we've seen in China."
More »
Korea has confirmed its 16th case of 2019-nCoV in a person without travel history to China. The patient arrived in South Korea on Jan 19 following travel to Thailand and became symptomatic on Jan 25. 

Confirmed cases of local transmission of novel coronavirus infection in Singapore

Thai Coronavirus Cases Jump to 25 With One Seriously Ill
Belgium’s Health, Food Chain Safety, and Environment department confirmed the country’s first case of 2019-nCoV ARD
Nature Update

Infections in China pass 20,000

Consequences of the Outbreak on Economy

With the coronavirus disrupting China's supply parts chain, Hyundai said it was suspending production lines at its car factories in South Korea.
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 11:38 AM EST
Many auto plants in China have shut down because of the virus, including factories run by Hyundai, Tesla, Ford and Nissan. Hyundai plants in South Korea would be the first to shut down lines outside China, and the move comes as Hyundai had ramped up production in in the country over the past two decades.
Read the latest

Coronavirus: These Countries, Airlines Restrict Travel to China
Canada Rejects Coronavirus Travel Ban
Amidst many countries limiting or halting travel to and from China, Canada announced that it is electing not to implement travel bans. Canada’s decision aligns with recommendations by the WHO. 
Control Measures

New 1,000-bed Wuhan hospital takes its first coronavirus patients
Facility was built in less than two weeks in city at the centre of the viral outbreak
Mobile High-Level Biosafety Lab
The China Centers for Disease Control has deployed a mobile biosafety laboratory to Wuhan City, Hubei Province to assist with the response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. The exact capabilities and team composition are not described in the official announcement, but the mobile laboratory will be accompanied by laboratory and maintenance personnel as well as drivers. China deployed mobile BSL-3 laboratories to Sierra Leone during the West Africa Ebola epidemic, which provided diagnostic testing support for the response, including real-time quantitative PCR testing. 
Other Countries

UK advises British citizens to leave China – as it happened
Advice comes after 39-year-old man in Hong Kong dies of the virus as WHO says outbreak is not yet a pandemic

Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan quarantined after passenger diagnosed with coronavirus
The 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew members are being held onboard while fever checks and medical exams are being conducted to identify any potentially ill passengers.
Scientific publications and reports and news
Who Strategic Preparedness And Response Plan
The WHO’s 2019 Novel Coronavirus Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan is now available. The document provides a formal situation assessment and highlights response strategies such as facilitating international coordination, scaling up country-level operations, and accelerating research necessary for responding to the ongoing epidemic. Recommendations are based on the best available understanding of the virus and its public health impacts. The plan will serve as a guide for the operational activities of national and international response organizations.
Researchers must ensure that their work on the outbreak is shared rapidly and openly, says a Nature editorial, which reiterates that reporting research and data will in no way affect consideration of submissions to the journal. “For researchers, the message is simple: work hard to understand and combat this infectious disease; make that work of the highest standard; and make results quickly available to the world.”
(Nature | 3 min read)

A pneumonia outbreak associated with a new coronavirus of probable bat origin
The pairwise protein sequence analysis of seven conserved non-structural proteins show that this virus belongs to the species of SARSr-CoV. The 2019-nCoV virus was then isolated from the bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of a critically ill patient, which can be neutralized by sera from several patients. Importantly, we have confirmed that this novel CoV uses the same cell entry receptor, ACE2, as SARS-CoV.

A controversial preprint that claimed to find similarities between 2019-nCoV and HIV has been withdrawn. The result, which drew criticism from scientists over its quality, prompted bioRxiv to place a special warning on its website. But the very existence of the paper has sparked discussion about the relative strengths and weaknesses of preprints and conventional, peer-reviewed journals — especially during a disease outbreak. “Maybe it’s time to agree that the publishing process is a messy one,” argue scientific-integrity journalists Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky.
(STAT | 6 min read)
Study claiming new coronavirus can be transmitted by people without symptoms was flawed
A paper published on 30 January in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) about the first four people in Germany infected with a novel coronavirus made many headlines because it seemed to confirm what public health experts feared: that someone who has no symptoms from infection with the virus, named 2019-nCoV, can still transmit it to others. That might make controlling the virus much harder.
Coronavirus outbreak: WHO’s decision to not declare a global public health emergency explained
Experts envision two scenarios if the new coronavirus isn’t contained  
With the new coronavirus spreading from person to person (possibly including from people without symptoms), reaching four continents, and traveling faster than SARS, driving it out of existence is looking increasingly unlikely.
Amid Coronavirus Fears, a Mask Shortage Could Spread Globally  
It’s been less than two weeks since the Chinese government quarantined 35 million people in the city of Wuhan and surrounding regions to control the fast-spreading coronavirus, but the images coming from there already have a grim familiarity: empty shops and streets, long queues at hospitals, and on every face, a surgical mask covering everything below the eyes.
The New Coronavirus Is a Truly Modern Epidemic
On Thursday, Nahid Bhadelia left rural Uganda, where she had been helping to set up a center for studying viruses such as Ebola. Before she left, she was peppered with concerned questions about when 2019-nCoV—the new coronavirus that has rapidly spread through China—would appear there.
The incubation period of 2019-nCoV from publicly reported confirmed cases: estimation and application  
A novel human coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified in China in December, 2019. There is limited support for many of its key epidemiologic features, including the incubation period, which has important implications for surveillance and control activities.
New coronavirus knowledge hub
Global Health Network has launched a website for sharing guidance, protocols, and research standards by responders to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. This pop-up space for 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) supports evidence generation by pooling protocols, tools, guidance, templates, and research standards generated by researchers and networks working on the response to this outbreak. Findings from previous outbreaks, largely obtained during MERS and SARS, are also available. This all aims to make research faster and easier and to enable standardised, quality data to be collected and prepared for sharing. 
Latest updates will be provided on transmission as well as recommendations for healthcare professionals on transmission, disease management, and care. 
What Questions Should Global Health Policy Makers Be Asking About The Novel Coronavirus?
Health Affairs
Spread of coronavirus threatens to strain U.S.-China relations along with global health system
The Washington Post
How AI is battling the coronavirus outbreak
Porous borders place Africa at risk from coronavirus
WHO Technical guidance


Training course:

WHO “Emerging respiratory viruses, including nCoV: methods for detection, prevention, response and control” now available
You can access the course through the following link:https://openwho.org/courses/introduction-to-ncov
By the end of this course, participants should be able to:

  • Understand the fundamental principles of emerging respiratory viruses and how to effectively respond to an outbreak.

There are two modules, as follows:

  • Module A: Introduction to Emerging respiratory viruses, including nCoV
  • Module B: Detecting Emerging respiratory viruses, including nCoV: Surveillance and Laboratory investigation

The course will take approximately 1 hour to finish.
Web: https://openwho.org



Knowledge Sharing

Thank you for reading. If you have thoughts, feedback, story ideas, or questions you would like to share or interested in partnering with us on a special event coverage, please send a note to Chadia Wannous via email cwannous@yahoo.com