COVID-19 situation: 24 Feb 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 24 Feb 2020

Welcome to this special issue of the newsletter where we highlight latest research and policy news and literature on COVID-19 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 34 on 23 Feb
Situation in Numbers
Total and new cases in last 24 hours
Globally 78 811confirmed (1017new)
China77 042 confirmed (650new) 2445 deaths (97new)
Outside of China1769confirmed (367new) 28 countries 17deaths (6new)


China         Very High
Regional Level       High
Global Level          High

China’s National Health Commission Feb 24: Daily briefing on novel coronavirus cases in China
On Feb 23, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 409 new cases of confirmed infections, 620 new cases of suspected infections, and 150 deaths (149 in Hubei province and 1 in Hainan province). 1,846 patients were released from hospitals after being cured. 16,758 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 1,053.

Latest developments in epidemic control on Feb 24 (1)
Chinese health authority said on Feb 24 it received reports of 409 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection and 150 deaths on Feb 23 from 31 provincial-level regions on the mainland.
Among the deaths, 149 were in Hubei province and one in Hainan province, according to the National Health Commission.
Another 620 new suspected cases were reported on Feb 23, and the overall confirmed cases on the mainland had reached 77,150 by the end of Feb 23, and 2,592 people had died of the disease.
— China's daily number of newly cured and discharged novel coronavirus patients has surpassed that of new confirmed infections for the sixth consecutive day.
Feb 23 saw 1,846 people walk out of hospital after recovery, much higher than the number of the same day's new confirmed infections, which was 409.
A total of 24,734 patients infected with the novel coronavirus had been discharged from hospital after recovery by the end of Feb 23.
— The China-World Health Organization joint expert team visited Hubei province over the weekend to conduct field investigations.
— Chinese lawmakers on Feb 24 started deliberating a draft decision on thoroughly banning illegal wildlife trade and eliminating the bad habits of eating wild animals to safeguard people's lives and health.
— The National Development and Reform Commission, China's top economic planner, said on Feb 24 it will release more targeted tax and fee cuts to aid micro, small and medium-sized businesses in tiding over difficulties as they were among the hardest hit by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Nature Update
Italy locked down the Lombardy region, halting life for around 50,000 people in 10 towns, after more than 150 coronavirus cases appeared in the country in just a few days. Three people have died and 26 were in intensive care, as Europe began confronting one of the most serious tests yet of open borders.
Towns were being blockaded and isolation camps planned, as Venice’s iconic Carnival was canceled and fear permeated Milan Fashion Week. Here are the main developments around the world from the weekend:
President Moon Jae-in put South Korea on high alert, a move that empowers the government to lock down cities, after more than 760 cases of the virus were confirmed. Many of them were traced to a secretive religious sect.
The third death linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship, long quarantined in Japan, was reported, as the number of confirmed cases among passengers and crew members reached 691. (Here’s how a luxury vacation turned into an epidemiological nightmare.)
Health officials in Iran reported 12 COVID-19 related deaths. This comes amid internal contested reports from the Mayor of Qom, who had accused the government of covering up the outbreak, attesting that his city had seen 50 deaths alone. A number of neighboring middle eastern countries have now reported travel related cases tied to the Iran outbreak with Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Oman sharing similar reports. 
The World Health Organization told African leaders they needed to prepare for the virus.
Here’s the latest, maps of where the virus has spread and tips for travelers.
While new death numbers are falling in China, WHO has cautioned that globally, infections are still on the rise. On Sunday, South Korea's President Moon Jae-in announced the highest level of alert after the country surpassed 340 cases of COVID-19, the majority of which were discovered in the past few days.
Visit our timeline for more.
The ECDC’s most recent update on the spread of COVID-19 within Europe shows a total of 132 confirmed cases in Italy, and an additional 46 cases spread across 7 other countries. Three deaths have been reported, two from the outbreak in Italy and an additional one in the UK. More recent media reports suggest 7 COVID-19 related deaths in Italy. 
Control Measures
The link to the audio file for the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 technical briefing held today 24 February at The Presidential Hotel Beijing, 9 Fuchengmenwai, Beijing, following the completion of the mission.
• Presentation by Dr LIANG Wannian, Chinese team lead for WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19   
• Presentation by Dr Bruce Aylward, International team lead for WHO-China joint mission on COVID-19  
• MI Feng, Deputy Director General of Communications Department and Spokesperson of National Health Commission of the People's Republic of China (moderator of briefing)
The briefing shared the following findings from the joint commission’s final report: the outbreak in Wuhan has already peaked and there has been a steady decrease in cases, they estimate that the case fatality rate within Wuhan is 2%-4% and 0.7% outside of the city, and shared their thoughts on the impact that China’s public health measures had on limiting disease spread. 
(Please note this file is temporary.)
Joint WHO and ECDC mission in Italy to support COVID-19 control and prevention efforts
The University of Queensland, in an effort funded by CEPI, said it is close to preclinical testing for its COVID-19 vaccine candidate
Chinese Parliament Postponed
The Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress said Monday that it would postpone its upcoming session. The AFP noted the extraordinary nature of the postponement, the last of which happened during China’s Cultural Revolution

Front-line medical workers to get better care, higher payment

Six provinces lower coronavirus emergency response levels

Harvard-China agreement aims to study new coronavirus
Harvard scientists are teaming up with researchers in China as part of a new five-year agreement to develop new diagnostics and therapies against the novel coronavirus that has continued to spread around the world. The $115 million deal will bring together researchers at Harvard Medical School, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Guangzhou Institute for Respiratory Health to study the new virus from basic science, clinical research, and epidemiology angles. The U.S. efforts are being led by Harvard biologist George Daley, and his counterpart in China is Zhong Nanshan, who is also heading the China National Health Commission's task force set up to investigate the new virus.

GSK announced today that it was teaming up with a Chinese company called Clover Biopharmaceuticals to develop a vaccine for Covid-19.
Other Countries
Emergency Funding Request Imminent
The White House said Saturday that it plans to request an emergency appropriation from Congress to fund the response to COVID-19. Two White House officials told Politico that the request would be for about $1 billion, but that number was preliminary and could change. Past emergency supplemental appropriations for infectious disease threats have included the 2009 H1N1 influenza pandemic ($7.7 billion), the 2014 West African Ebola outbreak ($5.4 billion), and the emergence of Zika virus ($1.1 billion).  
The CDC has updated its risk assessment, saying that the current risk is still low, but the potential risk globally and to the US is high
Scientific publications and reports and news

Symptomless cases raise coronavirus control fears
Researchers in Germany have found that people can be infected without appearing sick, after symptom-based screening missed two cases of coronavirus in a group evacuated from China to Germany. Several tests, including a throat swab, later confirmed the two people had the virus, the infectious disease unit at University Hospital Frankfurt says.
Clinical Characteristics of Patients With 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)–Infected Pneumonia in Wuhan, China
Novel Coronavirus Infection in Hospitalized Infants Under 1 Year of Age in China
Preparation for Possible Sustained Transmission of 2019 Novel Coronavirus
COVID-19 in Singapore—Experience and Critical Issues That Require Attention and Action

How spreaders of misinformation acquire influence online
Potential Presymptomatic Transmission of SARS-CoV-2, Zhejiang Province, China, 2020
We identified 2 persons with confirmed cases of symptomatic COVID-19 after their exposure to a potentially presymptomatic person who was later diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19. These 2 persons later transmitted SARS-CoV-2 to 3 family members, who did not report symptoms at the time their SARS-CoV-2 infections were detected.
Cases in Hong Kong an implications for further spread
Atypical cases with positive chest CT findings but negative initial test results
Evolution of the outbreak
Chinese medical personnel against the disease
How analysis of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 from different species sheds some light on cross-species receptor usage of the novel coronavirus
Single-center retrospective study in Wuhan, China, notes that 62% of 52 critically ill COVID-19 patients died, typically within 1 to 2 weeks of admission to the ICU
Chinese scientists report on a 2-case COVID-19 cluster possibly involving transmission before symptoms in Zhejiang province
Consequences of the Outbreak on Economy

Coronavirus: China’s economy lost US$196 billion in January, February, says ex-IMF official

  • Dips in tourism, consumer spending could reduce first-quarter growth by three or four percentage points, according to Zhu Min
  • Massive effort now needed to help country rebound, economist says
The stock market opened lower today; the Dow dropped 900 points, and the S&P fell 2.6%.
Over the weekend, the International Monetary Fund cut forecasts for global growth. IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva was quoted as saying, “[i]n our current baseline scenario, announced policies are implemented and China’s economy would return to normal in the second quarter. As a result, the impact on the world economy would be relatively minor and short-lived, … In this scenario, 2020 growth for China would be 5.6 percent. This is 0.4 percentage points lower than the January WEO Update. Global growth would be about 0.1 percentage points lower.”
Will the Coronavirus Trigger a Global Recession?
The COVID-19 outbreak seems to have raised the odds of a global recession dramatically. But even if no downturn materializes in the near term, the outbreak, together with US President Donald Trump's trade policy, may herald the end of the era when steadily rising international trade buttressed global peace and prosperity.
Characteristics of and Important Lessons from the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak In China
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention recently published the largest case series to date of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in mainland China (72 314 cases, updated through February 11, 2020).1 This Viewpoint summarizes key findings from this report and discusses emerging understanding of and lessons from the COVID-19 epidemic.

Database of publications on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
Updated WHO Myth buster
WHO Technical guidance

Lancet Coronavirus Resource Centre
This resource brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) content from across The 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)

CIDRAP COVID-19 Resource Center
CIDRAP has created a one-stop comprehensive compilation of the most current, authorititive information available on the novel coronavirus. Visit the Resource Center often, as the outbreak is constantly evolving

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.

“ePROTECT respiratory occupational health and safety” now available
This course provides a general introduction to Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) and basic hygiene measures to protect against infection.
By the end of this course, participants should understand:

  • the basic principles of acute respiratory infections;
  • how to assess the risk of infection; and
  • basic hygiene measures to protect against infection.

There are 4 modules, as follows:

  • Module 1: Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs) of public health concern - Introduction
  • Module 2: How to protect yourself against Acute Respiratory Infections (ARIs)
  • Module 3: Basic hygiene measures
  • Module 4: Wearing a medical mask

The course will take approximately 2 hours to finish. There is no certificate available at this time. Access Web:

Online course for public health preparedness for mass gathering events
This project aims to support host nations in delivering a safe and successful event, as part of WHO’s ongoing support to countries in strengthening the International Health Regulations capacities for prevention, detection and response to the public health events in the context of hosting mass gathering events.
To create a user account, future members need to click on “Register” from the homepage of the Health Security Learning Platform:
Access the course
COVID-19 Micro learning 

ECDC has produced series of micro learning activities (5-30 minutes) related to COVID-19.
The short e-learning courses provide guidance on the application of non-pharmaceutical countermeasures and include the following:
1. Introduction to COVID-19 NPC
2. Personal protective equipment against COVID-19
3. Environmental countermeasures against COVID-19
4. Social distancing countermeasures against COVID-19
5. Travel related countermeasures against COVID-19





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  


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