COVID-19 situation: 13 Feb 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 13 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  

Wishing you useful reading!

COVID-19 Outbreak Situation

Situation updates:
WHO situation report no 23 on 13 Feb

  • No new countries reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
  • WHO has published key considerations for repatriation and quarantine of travellers in relation to COVID-19. More information can be found here.
  • The UN activated a Crisis Management Team (CMT) on the COVID-19 outbreak, to be led by WHO. The WHO Director-General nominated Dr Mike Ryan, Executive Director of WHO Health Emergencies Programme as the Crisis Manager. The CMT brings together WHO, OCHA, IMO (International Maritime Organization), UNICEF, ICAO, WFP, FAO, the World Bank and several departments of the UN Secretariat. It held its first meeting yesterday via teleconference. This mechanism will help WHO focus on the health response while the other agencies will bring their expertise to bear on the wider social, economic and developmental implications of the outbreak. Additional members will be included depending on the evolution of the outbreak and its impact globally.
  • WHO has prepared a list of Q&A on infection prevention and control for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoVFigure 1. Countries, territories or areas with reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, 12February 2020

China         Very High
Regional Level       High
Global Level          High

Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation as of 13 February 2020, 10:00 (CET)

China’s National Health Commission Feb 12: Daily briefing on novel coronavirus cases in China
On Feb 11, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 2,015 new cases of confirmed infections (including 1,638 in Hubei province), 3,342 new cases of suspected infections (including 1,685 in Hubei province), 871 new serious cases, and 97 deaths (94 in Hubei province, 1 in Henan province, 1 in Hunan province, and 1 in Chongqing). 744 patients were released from hospitals after being cured, including 417 in Hubei province. 30,068 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation.

Latest developments in epidemic control on Feb 12 (1)
BEIJING — China has stepped up efforts to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. Here are the latest developments:
— Vice-Premier Sun Chunlan has urged Hubei province and its capital city of Wuhan to make greater efforts and take more decisive measures to resolutely win the battle against the novel coronavirus epidemic.
— The city of Huanggang, one of the hardest-hit cities in the epidemic-stricken Hubei province, has added 17 designated hospitals. The city now has 30 designated hospitals, 127 fever clinics and 10 testing institutions that can conduct more than 900 tests a day.
— Eighty-three percent of cluster outbreaks of the novel coronavirus infection occurred among family members, said Wu Zunyou, an epidemiology expert at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention at a news conference on Feb 11.
— The Standing Committee of the Provincial People's Congress of Central China's Hubei province on Feb 11 decided to appoint Wang Hesheng as the new director of the provincial health commission.
— Wuhan has mobilized more than 34,000 officials, government workers and Communist Party of China members into its 1,100 communities to fight the epidemic, including 16,700 employees of government units and State-owned enterprises as well as 17,700 members of the Communist Party of China.
— China's tax watchdog has unveiled a guideline to reduce financial pressure in key sectors amid the battle against the novel coronavirus outbreak. The guideline, involving 12 detailed items, came after a string of tax policies rolled out last week to support epidemic prevention and control, supplies, donation and work resumption.
— A total of 560,000 health workers in China's vast rural areas have taken online courses on the novel coronavirus epidemic to enhance their skills in epidemic control as of Feb 10, an official with the National Health Commission said on Feb 11.
— China will help workers return to work and move hiring online to counter the impact of the novel coronavirus outbreak on employment.
China's Ministry of Transport released a circular on Feb 11 to ensure safe and smooth transportation for migrant workers returning to work.
— Production of medical and daily necessities such as masks and protective suits is steadily recovering in China to support the prevention and control of the epidemic.
More than 76 percent of mask production capacity in China's 22 provincial regions had been resumed by Feb 10 and 77 percent of protective suit production had been resumed.
China is the world's largest mask producer, with more than 20 million masks made daily in normal times.
About 94.6 percent of the country's major grain production and processing firms have resumed production, as have 57.8 percent of the coal mines.
Hong Kong Ministry of Health reports that two residents living on different floors of the same apartment building contracted the virus, recalling a superspreading event in an apartment building during the 2003 SARS outbreak that was later linked to faulty plumbing. The Hong Kong government has successfully is following up with other households within the building and has found no additional cases.

Singapore's biggest daily jump in new coronavirus cases takes tally to 58

Japan confirms its first coronavirus death - Health Minister
Countries with confirmed cases
China: 44730 Cases
International conveyance (Japan): 175 Cases
Singapore: 50 Cases
Thailand: 33 Cases
Japan: 28 Cases
Republic of Korea: 28 Cases
Malaysia: 18 Cases
Germany: 16 Cases
Viet Nam: 16 Cases
Australia: 15 Cases
United States of America: 14 Cases
France: 11 Cases
United Kingdom: 9 Cases
United Arab Emirates: 8 Cases
Canada: 7 Cases
India: 3 Cases
Italy: 3 Cases
Philippines: 3 Cases
Russian Federation: 2 Cases
Spain: 2 Cases
Belgium: 1 Cases
Cambodia: 1 Cases
Finland: 1 Cases
Nepal: 1 Cases
Sri Lanka: 1 Cases
Sweden: 1 Cases
Consequences of the Outbreak on Economy

China will aim to hit economic development target despite coronavirus -state TV

China steel body seeks help with transport as virus leaves mills stranded

OPEC slashes oil demand outlook for 2020 as coronavirus outbreak stifles China

Singapore's UOB allocates $2.2 billion for companies impacted by coronavirus

Organisers of cancelled mobile conference play down compensation chances
Control Measures
UN health agency developing COVID-19 virus treatment master plan
The World Health Organization (WHO) is developing a master plan for coordinating clinical trials that could lead to potential therapies for patients infected with the COVID-19 virus, the agency’s chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Wednesday.

New party boss of China's Hubei pledges to contain coronavirus - state media
Other Countries

Glitch delays COVID-19 tests for states as first evacuees cleared
One of the reagents used in the tests wasn't performing consistently.
More »

HHS, Janssen Join Forces on Coronavirus Vaccine
To expedite development of vaccines that protect against the 2019 novel coronavirus, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response (ASPR) will expand an existing partnership with New Jersey-based Janssen Research & Development, part of Johnson & Johnson.

CDC director: More person-to-person coronavirus infections in U.S. likely, but containment still possible

CDC Strategies for Optimizing the Supply of N95 Respirators
Huge Shelters for Coronavirus Patients Pose New Risks, Experts Fear
As the new coronavirus continued to spread unabated within the city of Wuhan, China, government officials last week imposed draconian measures. Workers in protective gear were instructed to go to every home in the city, removing infected residents to immense isolation wards built hastily in a sports stadium, an exhibition center and a building complex.
Laboratory readiness and response for novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
in expert laboratories in 30 EU/EEA countries, January 2020 separator commenting unavailable (Eurosurveillance) In early January 2020, it became evident that a new pathogenic human coronavirus, provisionally named novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), had emerged in China. The virus is causing an outbreak, which started in the metropole Wuhan, but was seeded through travellers across China with ongoing secondary chains of transmission in a wider geographical area.

Mongolia Braces for Coronavirus Impact
Mongolia has shut its border with China and closed down schools, among other efforts to prevent the virus from spreading into the country.

Cruise passengers shunned over coronavirus to head home after Cambodia reprieve
Scientific publications and reports and news
World experts and funders set priorities for COVID-19 research
The meeting, hosted in collaboration with GloPID-R (the Global Research Collaboration for Infectious Disease Preparedness) brought together major research funders and over 300 scientists and researchers from a large variety of disciplines. They discussed all aspects of the outbreak and ways to control it including:

  • the natural history of the virus, its transmission and diagnosis;
  • animal and environmental research on the origin of the virus, including management measures at the human-animal interface;
  • epidemiological studies;
  • clinical characterization and management of disease caused by the virus;
  • infection prevention and control, including best ways to protect health care workers;
  • research and development for candidate therapeutics and vaccines;
  • ethical considerations for research;
  • and integration of social sciences into the outbreak response.

WHO Director-General's opening remarks at the media briefing on Ebola and COVID-19 outbreaks

The Wuhan Coronavirus, Climate Change, and Future Epidemics

Consistent detection of 2019 novel coronavirus in saliva
The 2019-novel-coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was detected in the self-collected saliva of 91.7% (11/12) of patients. Serial saliva viral load monitoring generally showed a declining trend. Live virus was detected in saliva by viral culture. Saliva is a promising non-invasive specimen for diagnosis, monitoring, and infection control in patients with 2019-nCoV infection.

Clinical characteristics and intrauterine vertical transmission potential of COVID-19 infection in nine pregnant women: a retrospective review of medical records
The clinical characteristics of COVID-19 pneumonia in pregnant women were similar to those reported for non-pregnant adult patients who developed COVID-19 pneumonia. Findings from this small group of cases suggest that there is currently no evidence for intrauterine infection caused by vertical transmission in women who develop COVID-19 pneumonia in late pregnancy.

Why reports about coronavirus death rates can be misleading 
Case fatality rate: That's the term that helps answer the most pressing questions when a new disease emerges, questions like how deadly the disease is and how many people are likely to die. With the current outbreak of Covid-19, experts say it's too soon to tell what the CFR is, which is the percentage of the number of known deaths divided by the number of cases. That's because it's difficult to know the exact number of cases — many people with milder symptoms may not have sought care and could therefore have been missed.
Learn more about CFR in a new video from STAT'

Understanding pandemics: What they mean, don’t mean, and what comes next with the coronavirus
Labs scramble to spot hidden coronavirus infections
The seeming precision of the global tallies of cases and deaths caused by the novel coronavirus now spreading from Wuhan, China belies an alarming fact. The world is in the dark about the epidemic’s real scale and speed, because existing tests have limited powers—and testing is far too spotty. “We are underestimating how common this infection is,” cautions Jeremy Farrar, head of the Wellcome Trust.
From Hendra to Wuhan: what has been learned in responding to emerging zoonotic viruses
As the world watches the rapid spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, it is important to reflect on the lessons that can be learned from this and previous emerging zoonotic viruses (EZV) in a comparative and analytic way.

Therapeutic options for the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)
Antiviral researchers Guangdi Li and Erik De Clercq explore the potential to fight COVID-19 by repurposing treatments for HIV, hepatitis B, hepatitis C and influenza. The analysis focuses on approved drugs or those that have already gone through clinical trials. It also includes a longer list of anti-coronavirus agents, including preclinical compounds, that could be considered for screening or as starting points for optimizing antiviral agents against SARS-CoV-2.
(Nature Reviews Drug Discovery | 7 min read)

Epidemiological research priorities for public health control of the ongoing global novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak
Investigators at Hong Kong University published an article in Eurosurveillance recommending epidemiological research priorities relating to transmission dynamics, severity, susceptibility and control measures. Specific priorities include: (1) clarifying the importance of symptomatic and asymptomatic transmission; (2) estimating serial interval and generation time; (3) estimating robust estimates of the case and infection fatality risks; and (4) clarifying age-varying risks.
WHO Myth buster
WHO Technical guidance

Lancet Coronavirus Resource Centre
This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) content from acrossThe Lancet journals as it is published. All content listed on this page is free to access.
Elsevier’s free health and medical research on novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

Training course:
WHO Critical Care Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Training
This course is intended for clinicians who are working in intensive care units (ICUs) in low and middle-income countries and managing adult and pediatric patients with severe forms of acute respiratory infection (SARI), including severe pneumonia, acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), sepsis and septic shock. It is a hands-on practical guide to be used by health care professionals involved in critical care management during outbreaks of influenza virus (seasonal) human infection due avian influenza virus (H5N1, H7N9), MERS-CoV, nCoV or other emerging respiratory viral epidemics.



Knowledge Sharing

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