COVID-19 situation: 7 March 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 7 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 no 46 on 29 Feb

  • 4new countries/territories/areas (Bhutan, Cameroon, Serbia, and South Africa) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
  • As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to evolve, comparisons have been drawn to influenza.WHO has provided a Q&A regarding the similarities and differences between the two diseases. Please see the Situation in Focus below for more information.

Situation in Numbers
Total and new cases in last 24 hours

  • Globally 98 192 confirmed (2873new)
  • China80 711confirmed (146new) 3045 deaths (30 new)
  • Outside of China17 481confirmed (2727new) 335 deaths (69new)
  • 88 Countries/territories/ areas (4new)

WHO Risk Assessment
China   Very High
Regional Level Very High
Global Level    Very High

WHO has also published a Statement on cases of COVID-19 surpassing 100 000
In addition, WHO has issued a consolidated package of existing preparedness and response guidance for countries to enable them to slow and stop COVID-19 transmission and save lives. WHO is urging all countries to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 by readying emergency response systems; increasing capacity to detect and care for patients; ensuring hospitals have the space, supplies and necessary personnel; and developing life-saving medical interventions.
The links are below:

All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:

China’s National Health Commission 7 March: Daily briefing
On March 6, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 99 new cases of confirmed infections, 99 new cases of suspected infections, and 28 deaths (all in Hubei province). 1,678 patients were released from hospital after being cured. 4,773 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 248.

Latest developments in epidemic control on 7 March
— Some vaccines against the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) are expected to enter clinical trials by mid-April or even earlier. Chinese scientists are racing to carry out scientific and technological breakthroughs in epidemic prevention and control by adopting five technological approaches, Ding Xiangyang, deputy secretary-general of the State Council, said on March 6.
— About 827,000 people who returned to Beijing from an extended Lunar New Year holiday are currently undergoing a 14-day home observation. Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of the city's epidemic control office, said the city's anti-epidemic battle has entered a critical and also difficult period as pressure from coronavirus spreading from both outside and within Beijing is still high.
A total of 161,000 property management staffers and security guards are on duty for grassroots prevention and control around the clock. The municipal government has dispatched 842,000 masks, 27,000 thermometers and 4,350 items of protective gear to aid the fight at community and village levels citywide.

Global COVID-19 cases pass 100,000 mark
Cases are surging in the hot spot nations of Italy, South Korea, and Iran, and medical oxygen supplies are running low in some areas.
More »
Control Measures
Coronavirus update: 290 million students now stuck at home
School closures in 13 countries linked to the COVID-19 virus epidemic have disrupted the education of more than 290 million students, a record number, the UN education agency UNESCO said on Thursday.
Coronavirus update: WHO chief calls for private sector to step up, and, should you take that flight?
In his daily briefing to the press on Friday, World Health Organization (WHO) chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, warned that supplies of medicine are at risk of disruption due to the epidemic, given that China - the worst hit nation so far - is a major producer of pharmaceutical ingredients.

COVID-19 vaccines expected to enter clinical trials by mid April or earlier

Hubei enforces complete ban on eating wild animals

China calls for strengthened psychological assistance in epidemic control

China optimizes treatment for COVID-19
China’s NHC published national guidance regarding rehabilitation support for recovered COVID-19 patients.
The guidance addresses, respiratory and other physical challenges in survivors as well as mental health issues, and it includes assessment methods for evaluating patients and guidance regarding rehabilitation therapy and exercises. With more than 50,000 recovered cases—which is increasing steadily every day—China will be critical to gaining insight into the longer-term effects of COVID-19 after the acute symptoms have subsided.
Other Countries

Coronavirus epidemic forces cancellation of HIMSS health tech conference

WHO rapid response team concludes mission to Italy for COVID-19 response
The Iranian government implemented measures to help ensure the availability of PPE nationwide.
Iran directed the consolidation of national distribution of examination and surgical gloves to two designated companies and implemented government price controls on these products. Additionally, the exportation of gloves is prohibited, and importers are required to submit updates on supply inventory to a central government database.
Thailand Travel & Entry Procedures
There is reportedly some confusion about travel restrictions, screening, and quarantine for arriving international travelers in Thailand. According to several media reports, the Thai government posted conflicting messages, including via social media platforms, regarding quarantine and monitoring requirements for travelers arriving from countries affected by COVID-19.
Scientific publications and reports and news

A detailed guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development

Statement in support of the scientists, public health professionals, and medical professionals of China combatting COVID-19

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.

What are the risks of COVID-19 infection in pregnant women?

One Doctor’s Life on the Coronavirus Front Lines. ‘If We Fail, What Happens to You All?’
Short on supplies and sleep, medical staff are being stretched to the limit to stop a pandemic no one fully understands

How the Coronavirus Spread From One Patient to 1,000 Now Quarantined in New York
As of Thursday, a total of 22 people in New York had the virus, according to city and state officials

Who is getting sick, and how sick? A breakdown of coronavirus risk by demographic factors
Influence of trust on two different risk perceptions as an affective and cognitive dimension during Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) outbreak in South Korea: serial cross-sectional surveys

Kids do get the coronavirus — they just don't get as sick

How fast can the coronavirus mutate?

Fight Pandemics Like Wildfires
With Prevention and a Plan to Share the Costs

What the world has learned about facing covid-19
Many countries are ill prepared

We’re learning a lot about the coronavirus. It will help us assess risk
Children are just as likely to get infected with COVID-19 as adults.
One of the most detailed studies yet published on the spread of the new coronavirus followed 391 people in Shenzhen, China, infected with the virus and 1,286 of their close contacts. The study could have important implications for slowing the spread of the virus through measures such as school closures.
(Nature | (continuously updated)

Mathematician Adam Kucharski explains, in simple terms, how relevant statistics are calculated for the outbreak.
For example, the death rate is not a simple matter of dividing the total number of deaths and total number of cases, which doesn’t account for unreported cases or the delay from illness to death. “If 100 people arrive at hospital with COVID-19 on a given day, and all are currently still alive, it obviously doesn’t mean that the fatality rate is 0 percent,” explains Kucharski.
(The New York Times | 8 min read)
China is struggling to deal with the mountain of medical waste created by the outbreak.
By 24 February, the volume of medical waste in Wuhan, the city in which the outbreak began last December, had quadrupled to more than 200 tonnes a day, according to Chinese media reports. The city’s only dedicated medical-waste disposal facility handle only 50 tonnes a day.
(South China Morning Post | 10 min read)
Read the latest coronavirus news, continuously updated on Nature.

How blood plasma from recovered patients could help treat the new coronavirus
Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been working on developing a new treatment against COVID-19 by using intravenous immunoglobulin from the blood serum of individuals who have survived infection with the causative virus, SARS-CoV-2. The therapy, if determined to be effective, would be intended for use among patients with severe disease, as it is possible that antibodies from multiple people will be needed to provide enough supply for treating one person. Other pharmaceutical companies, such as Regeneron and Vir Biotechnology, have also been investigating similar technologies.
A pre-print manuscript published by the Centre for Mathematical Modeling of Infectious Diseases provides insight into the infection fatality ratio (CFR) and case fatality ratio (CFR) for COVID-19 based on data from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined in Japan. The study adjusted for several biases that can skew early estimates of severity. The authors estimate that the CFR on the Diamond Princess is 2.3% (0.75%–5.3%) and the infection fatality ratio (accounting for asymptomatic infections) is 1.2% (0.38–2.7%). In China, the authors estimated IFR and CFR to be 0.5% (95% CI: 0.2–1.2%) and 1.1% (95% CI: 0.3–2.4%) respectively.

Will warming spring temperatures slow the coronavirus outbreak?
Flu season generally subsides in April and March, but will the coronavirus go with it? Past coronavirus outbreaks can offer clues.

Here’s what coronavirus does to the body
From blood storms to honeycomb lungs, here’s an organ-by-organ look at how COVID-19 harms humans.

Hotel collapse traps 70 in eastern China
Around 70 people were trapped after the collapse of a hotel used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in eastern China on Saturday evening, officials said.
Consequences of the Outbreak on Economy

Coronavirus Fallout Puts Italy at Risk of Recession
A sharp drop-off in foreign tourists and a cutback in spending by Italian households are raising concerns that a sustained fall in consumer spending would derail the EU’s third-biggest economy. 
COVID-19: countries, businesses must safeguard human rights as virus spreads: Bachelet 
As the COVID-19 coronavirus continues to spread globally, the UN’s top human rights official appealed on Friday to put rights “front and centre” when implementing preventative measures.

Stocks swung wildly, bond yields plunged and oil prices sank this week as Wall Street worried about how the coronavirus would hurt the economy.
The S&P 500 fell nearly 4 percent at its lowest point before recovering those losses and ending down less than 2 percent.
Still, the most notable move in financial markets Friday was a slide in yields on government bonds to levels that would have been considered unthinkable just two weeks ago.
Read the latest

Tourism flows and death rates suggest covid-19 is being under-reported
Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia and the Philippines have confirmed just eight cases
The Chinese government has issued “force majeure” certificates, enabling companies to exempt themselves from contractual obligations and mitigating the risk of financial penalties for companies, covering contracts valued at more than US$50 billion. These measures, however, may not be effective for arrangements with companies based outside of China. 
CNBC article
Updated WHO Myth buster
WHO Technical guidance
List of WHO guidance by topic 


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
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 Centeroften, as the outbreak is constantly evolving

Training course:
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





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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