COVID-19 situation: 25 March 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 25 March 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-64 by 24 March 2020

  • Four new countries/territories/areas from the South-East Asia Region [1], and Region of the Americas [3] have reported cases of COVID-19.
  • WHO has delivered a new shipment of emergency medical supplies to the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of COVID-19 response measures. Details can be found on the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean here.
  • WHO and its partners are constantly working to strengthen the chains of essential COVID-19 supplies. As global demand rises, WHO and its partners aim to ensure assistance to areas most in need. More information can be found in Subject in Focus.

Situation in Numbers
Total (new) cases in last 24 hours

  • Globally 372 757confirmed (39 827) 16 231 deaths (1722)
  • Western Pacific Region 96 580 confirmed (943) 3502 deaths (29)
  • European Region 195 511 confirmed (24 087)10 189 deaths (1447)
  • South-East Asia Region 1990 confirmed (214) 65 deaths (7)
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region 27 215 confirmed (1840) 1877 deaths (136)
  • Region of the Americas 49 444 confirmed (12 428) 565 deaths (100)
  • African Region 1305 confirmed (315) 26 deaths (3

WHO Risk Assessment
Global Level    Very High
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:
Latest updates - Live press conference (Geneva)

Situation update for the EU/EEA and the UK as of 24 March 2020
As of 24 March 2020, 182 470 cases have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (63 927), Spain (33 089), Germany (29 212), France (19 856), United Kingdom (6 650), Netherlands (4 749), Austria (4 486), Belgium (3 743), Norway (2 371), Portugal (2 060), Sweden (2 016), Denmark (1 460), Czech Republic (1 236), Ireland (1 125), Luxembourg (875), Poland (749), Finland (700), Greece (695), Iceland (588), Romania (576), Slovenia (442), Estonia (352), Croatia (306), Bulgaria (201), Slovakia (191), Hungary (187), Latvia (180), Lithuania (179), Cyprus (116), Malta (107) and Liechtenstein (46).
As of 24 March 2020, 10 049 deaths have been reported in the EU/EEA and the UK: Italy (6 077), Spain (2 182), France (860), United Kingdom (335), Netherlands (213), Germany (126), Belgium (88), Austria (25), Sweden (25), Denmark (24), Portugal (23), Greece (17), Hungary (8), Luxembourg (8), Norway (8), Poland (8), Romania (7), Ireland (6), Bulgaria (3), Iceland (2), Czech Republic (1), Finland (1), Lithuania (1) and Slovenia (1).
Situation dashboard: latest available data

Spain overtakes China in Covid-19 deaths, rising to second worldwide

Control Measures

Covid-19: What about the doctors?
The status of 7,000 foreign doctors chosen to begin medical residencies in American teaching hospitals — hospitals that will desperately need their help to cope with Covid-19 — is in doubt because the State Department has temporarily stopped issuing the visas most of them would need to enter the country, STAT’s Helen Branswell reports, citing a group that sponsors international medical graduates.

Health care workers might get coronavirus shots this fall, vaccine company CEO says
The comment by Moderna CEO Stephane Bancels reflects the urgent need to protect front-line workers against the growing pandemic.

COVID-19: Government Measures
Beginning in January 2020, WHO has encouraged governments to reduce transmission of COVID-19. These efforts include active surveillance, detection, isolation and treatment, and contact tracing. This report maps the initial measures adopted by governments. It is a component of ACAPS’s broader effort to monitor the impact of the pandemic.
This report is based on publicly available data assembled by our team through a wide scanning of information across the globe. It provides an initial analysis of the data. In order to share the information quickly, the analysis is descriptive and cannot yet be thorough. We present these initial findings along with the data set. As resources will need to be carefully prioritized, we present a holistic analysis based on broad information. As information changes and data evolve and our analysis will deepen.
We are still in the early stages of the pandemic and report mainly on initial government policies. Rules and guidelines are changing daily. We anticipate providing an update to this report weekly.
COVID-19: UN chief calls for global ceasefire to focus on ‘the true fight of our lives’
In an appeal issued on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged warring parties across the world to lay down their weapons in support of the bigger battle against  COVID-19: the common enemy that is now threatening all of humankind.
Water access critical to beating back COVID-19 spread in slum areas
As regular hand washing is a key tool in combating COVID-19, the UN and its partners are taking steps to ensure people living in informal settlements have access to running water at this critical time, according to the agency working to achieve more sustainable cities.                  

Developing and deploying tests for SARS-CoV-2 is crucial
Without them, no one knows what is going on

Treatments for COVID-19: Drugs being tested against the coronavirus

Armies are mobilising against the coronavirus
Soldiers are patrolling streets, running hospitals—and cancelling drills

Deciphering the power of isolation in controlling COVID-19 outbreaks

COVID-19: mitigating transmission via wastewater plumbing systems

Interventions to mitigate early spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Singapore: a modelling study
Implementing the combined intervention of quarantining infected individuals and their family members, workplace distancing, and school closure once community transmission has been detected could substantially reduce the number of SARS-CoV-2 infections.

Startups touting at-home coronavirus tests suspend plans after FDA warning

It’s official: coronavirus puts off the Tokyo Olympics
Postponement, long inevitable, suits Japan’s prime minister better than cancellation
Countries measures
Ease sanctions against countries fighting COVID-19: UN human rights chief
As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called for an easing of sanctions against countries such as Iran to allow their medical systems to fight the disease and limit its global spread.

World COVID-19 total surges past 400,000; more nations lock down
More nations, including the UK and India, order countrywide lockdowns.
More »

Italian doctors note high COVID-19 death rate, urge action
Italian authors reported a 7.2% fatality rate—even higher in those 70 and older.
More »
COVID-19: Lockdown across India, in line with WHO guidance
India’s decision to impose a 21-day lockdown, which was announced on Tuesday, comes after a call from the UN health agency, WHO, for the country to take “aggressive action”.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson placed Britain under a nationwide lockdown, drastically restricting movement in a bid to curb the coronavirus.
“From this evening, I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home,” Mr. Johnson said in a video posted on Twitter, allowing a few exceptions for shopping, exercising or seeking medical help.
Read the latest

Trump hopes US will shake off pandemic by Easter

Senators and the White House agreed on a $2 trillion economic stimulus plan, the largest in U.S. history. It is expected to be enacted within days.
The legislation is aimed at delivering critical financial support to businesses forced to shut their doors and relief to American families and hospitals reeling from the rapid spread of the disease and the resulting economic disruption.
Read the latest

China to resume domestic flights to and from Wuhan
Germany's parliament debates coronavirus aid package
Italy threatens jail for coronavirus sufferers violating quarantine
Scientific publications and reports and news

Scientific and ethical basis for social-distancing interventions against COVID-19

Clinical features and obstetric and neonatal outcomes of pregnant patients with COVID-19 in Wuhan, China: a retrospective, single-centre, descriptive study
The maternal, fetal, and neonatal outcomes of patients who were infected in late pregnancy appeared very good, and these outcomes were achieved with intensive, active management that might be the best practice in the absence of more robust data. The clinical characteristics of these patients with COVID-19 during pregnancy were similar to those of non-pregnant adults with COVID-19 that have been reported in the literature.

Management of pregnant women infected with COVID-19

COVID-19 in Europe: the Italian lesson

Life, or death? Experts guide pandemic medical equipment decisions
In 3 papers, experts lay out strategies for priority decisions on PPE, etc.
In an article today in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), an international group of experts on medical ethics and health policy give six recommendations to ensure that patients are treated equally and that individual physicians don't have to make the "terrible" decision about which patients receive life-sustaining treatment and which do not.
Meanwhile, the authors of a Mar 19 article published in Health Security describe strategies for state and local public health officials to distribute stockpiled ventilators to hospitals to achieve the greatest benefit.
And in related guidance published Mar 20 in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine, the authors say that providing life support using extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) during the COVID-19 pandemic requires careful planning, selective use of resources, training of healthcare workers, effective communication and coordination, and strict infection-control measures.
More »
States say some doctors stockpile trial coronavirus drugs, for themselves. 
New York Times
The West is misinterpreting Wuhan’s coronavirus progress — and drawing the wrong lessons. 
Wall Street Journal
Hospital orders for old malaria drugs spike amid coronavirus pandemic. 

No defenses: Indian Country already has some of the highest rates of illness in the nation. Can it withstand COVID-19? 
Searchlight New Mexico

Waiting for the storm to hit: Anxious U.S. doctors turn to China for answers
Although the Covid-19 outbreak has overwhelmed some hospitals in the U.S., in many cities anxious physicians feel more like coastal dwellers who learn that a tsunami has formed miles offshore: It hasn’t hit them yet, they know it’s going to, and they are desperate for information about how to survive it. Fed up with what they see as inadequate and confusing directives from public health authorities, many physicians are trying to get on-the-ground advice directly from colleagues in countries that were the first to be hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Doctors at Johns Hopkins, eager to hear how their counterparts in China cured 35 intensive-care patients completely and brought another 28 to only mild disease, conferred by Zoom, one doctor told STAT’s Sharon Begley

Pandemic taxed mental health of medical workers in China, survey finds
There may be lessons to be learned in China beyond flattening the curve. A six-day survey starting Jan. 29 of nearly 1,300 health care workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic revealed that a significant proportion were bearing a mental health burden in the form of depression (50%), anxiety (45%), insomnia (34%), and distress (70%). Some people experienced more severe symptoms than others: Women, nurses, workers in Wuhan, and clinicians directly diagnosing, treating, or providing nursing care to patients with suspected or confirmed Covid-19 reported more distress. “Special interventions to promote mental well-being in health care workers exposed to Covid-19 need to be immediately implemented, with women, nurses, and frontline workers requiring particular attention,” the study authors wrote.

When might experimental drugs to treat Covid-19 be ready? A forecast

  • Existing antiviral medicines
    Available now, but efficacy testing could take a month or more.
  • First data could come in April
    Convalescent plasma
  • Arthritis drugs
    Data could be available by summer; drugs available now
  • Artificial antibodies against the virus
    Potentially early fall
  • New antivirals
    2021 at the earliest
  • Late 2021, possibly many years
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

How Will COVID-19 Affect Women and Girls in Low- and Middle-Income Countries?
Policymakers should be thinking—and worried—about how COVID-19 is expected to disproportionately affect women and girls. Gender inequality can come into even starker focus in the context of health emergencies. With COVID-19 continuing to spread, what do we see so far—and what can we expect in the future—in terms of the impacts on women and girls?

Gender blind’ coronavirus policies could hinder disease fight

  • Women at higher risk of infection, but have less power in decision-making
  • Action plans that don’t recognise gender differences will be less effective
  • Economic and health impacts as schools close and travel bans set in

Tips for handling work and kids during COVID-19 isolation
Working and supervising children during a pandemic has the potential to create stress and family conflict.

For people with underlying health conditions, the coronavirus presents ‘all the ingredients’ for danger

As Covid-19 spreads, disruptions to clinical trial and drug development accelerate

The coronavirus crisis thrusts corporate HR chiefs into the spotlight
In a pandemic, a chief people officer can make or break a company
Risk communication
Updated WHO Myth buster

Pass the message: Five steps to kicking out coronavirus
WHO, FIFA launch joint campaign to equip football community to tackle COVID-19
EPI-WIN: WHO information network for epidemics
EPI-WIN seeks to give everyone access to timely, accurate, and easy-to-understand advice and information from trusted sources on public health events and outbreaks: currently the COVID-19 public health emergency.
Facebook is sharing aggregated, anonymized location data from its users with researchers analyzing the spread of the coronavirus.
Can it help slow the spread of coronavirus?
People are helping each other fight coronavirus, one Google spreadsheet at a time. 

COVID-19: a guide to good practice on keeping people well informed
Health literacy information must be understandable and it needs to meet the literacy needs of the people it’s directed at. People with reading difficulties, hearing and sight impairments, for example, will need different formats.
WhatsApp, in partnership with the WHO, UNICEF, and UNDP, announced the launch of the WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub to offer simple, actionable guidance, general tips and resources for users around the world to be better informed about the disease.
New global platform to keep information networks ‘safer, stronger’ throughout COVID-19 pandemic
The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) launched a new platform on Monday to help global networks under increasing strain and facing rising demand during the COVID-19 crisis to remain “safer, stronger and more connected”, according to the specialized agency’s chief.
WHO Technical guidance

New guide: Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19
Responding to community spread of COVID-19
This document provides technical guidance for government authorities, health workers, and other key stakeholders to guide response to community spread. It will be updated as new information or technical guidance become available. For countries that are already preparing or responding, this document can also serve as a checklist to identify any remaining gaps.
- Access the document
Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions
WHO has defined four transmission scenarios for COVID-19:
1. Countries with no cases (No cases);
2. Countries with 1 or more cases, imported or locally detected (Sporadic cases);
3. Countries experiencing cases clusters in time, geographic location and/or common exposure (Clusters of cases);
4. Countries experiencing larger outbreaks of local transmission (Community transmission).
This document describes the preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19 for each transmission scenario.
- Access the document

The Coronavirus Papers unlocked: 5,352 scientific articles covering the coronavirus - fully searchable and free.
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

Supporting coronavirus research with FREE access to over 17,000 Global Health records 
CABI’s Global Health – the go-to bibliographic database for the study and practice of national, regional and international public health – has made relevant content available for free to support the international effort to fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
You can access the free open access content by following this link:

Training courses:
Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control
Simplified Chinese course
The English version of this course is available here:
La versión en español de este curso está disponible aquí :
La version française de ce cours est disponible sur :

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

Research and Development

Global research on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Database of publications on coronavirus disease (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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