COVID-19 situation: 1 March 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 1 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 40 on 29 Feb

  • Two new Member States (Mexico and San Marino) reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
  • WHO has published the Rational use of personal protective equipment for COVID-19. This document summarizes WHO recommendations for the appropriate use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in health care and community settings, including the handling of cargo. More information on Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) activities can be found in the Subject in Focus.

Situation in Numbers
Total and new cases in last 24 hours
Globally 85 403 confirmed (1753 new)
China 79 394 confirmed (435 new)    2838 deaths (47 new)
Outside of China 6009 confirmed (1318 new)          
53 countries (2 new) 86 deaths (19 new)
WHO Risk Assessment
China   Very High
Regional Level Very High
Global Level    Very High

WHO: Airborne transmission not primary mode for virus
The principal transmission method is still thought to be respiratory droplets and close contact with an infected person. The virus has also originated from animals, and genetic analysis shows that it may come from bats and the intermediate hosts are still unknown, according to the China-WHO COVID-19 joint survey report published on Saturday.

China’s National Health Commission 1 March: Daily briefing
On Feb 29, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 573 new cases of confirmed infections, 132 new cases of suspected infections, and 35 deaths (34 in Hubei province and 1 in Henan province). 2,623 patients were released from hospital after being cured. 8,620 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 299.

Latest developments in epidemic control on Feb 29

China sees rising recovery ratio of COVID-19 patients
The ratio of the cumulative number of cured COVID-19 patients to the total mortality across China expanded to 13.8:1, showing a continuous rise in recovery rate, according to the National Health Commission (NHC).
Coronavirus: US, Australia and Thailand report first deaths
China reports 573 new cases with further travel bans and large gatherings restricted

Mexico confirms three coronavirus cases in three men returned from Italy

First Covid-19 outbreak in a U.S. nursing home raises concerns

A single coronavirus case exposes a bigger problem: The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown

Three US states report new community spread of COVID-19
The new cases are in California, Oregon, and Washington state.
More »

Coronavirus reaches sub-Saharan Africa and South America
Several nations reported their first infections this week, including Nigeria — the first confirmed case in sub-Saharan Africa. Health authorities and researchers have feared the virus’s spread to African countries including Nigeria, where weak health systems could become quickly overwhelmed by a local outbreak. Brazil also reported a case on Wednesday — the first in South America.
Nature | Continuously updated

COVID-19 expands reach, fueled by trio of global hot spots
Outside of China, hot spots include South Korea, Italy, and Iran.
More »
Control Measures
WHO raises global COVID-19 risk to highest level
As concerns deepen about Iran, the WHO is in the process of sending a mission to the country, with UAE help.
More »
Report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Transcript of press conference held by WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19

COVID-19 Vaccine Shipped, and Drug Trials Start
Moderna Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Cambridge, Mass., has shipped the first batches of its COVID-19 vaccine. The vaccine was created just 42 days after the genetic sequence of the COVID_19 virus, called SARS-CoV-2, was released by Chinese researchers in mid-January. The first vials were sent to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which will ready the vaccine for human testing as early as April.
NIH scientists also began testing an antiviral drug called remdesivir that had been developed for Ebola, on a patient infected with SARS-CoV-2

Contributions to the WHO COVID-19 appeal
A Joint Statement on Tourism and COVID-19 - UNWTO and WHO Call for Responsibility and Coordination
Tourism’s response needs to be measured and consistent, proportionate to the public health threat and based on local risk assessment, involving every part of the tourism value chain – public bodies, private companies and tourists, in line with WHO’s overall guidance and recommendations.
How effective are travel restrictions? A look at approaches to contain coronavirus

Conferences canceled: Coronavirus’ impact on development efforts

Li orders ramped-up surgical mask output

For different groups of people: how to choose masks

TCM widely used in COVID-19 patient treatment, yielding good results
Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) has been widely used to treat COVID-19 patients, yielding good outcomes, said a medical expert Feb 29.
With TCM treatment, patients with mild symptoms have seen their fever or cough alleviated, Wang Rongbing, director physician with Beijing Ditan Hospital, said at a press conference.
For severely ill patients, TCM helped relieve symptoms and restore blood oxygen saturation, preventing the patients' conditions from developing into critically ill cases, Wang said.
Other Countries

South Korea closes churches as coronavirus tally passes 3,500

Is Britain prepared for a possible pandemic? The signs aren’t all that good…

Paris' Louvre closes for staff meeting on coronavirus

Algeria deports Italian national infected with coronavirus

U.S. postpones summit with ASEAN leaders amid coronavirus fears: sources

First US COVID-19 death reported; feds expand travel ban
Washington state reports the nation's first COVID-19 death, and 2 nursing home cases.
More »

Feds to allow state public health labs to test for COVID-19
In addition, Vice President Pence appoints AIDS expert Deborah Birx, MD, to coordinate the federal response.
More »
Exclusive: U.S. mulls using sweeping powers to ramp up production of coronavirus protective gear
President Donald Trump’s administration is considering invoking special powers through a law called the Defense Production Act to rapidly expand domestic manufacturing of protective masks and clothing to combat the coronavirus in the United States, two U.S. officials told Reuters.
U.S. Health Workers Responding to Coronavirus Lacked Training and Protective Gear, Whistle-Blower Says
Federal health employees interacted with Americans quarantined for possible exposure to the coronavirus without proper medical training or protective gear, then scattered into the general population, according to a government whistle-blower who lawmakers say faced retaliation for reporting concerns.

Coronavirus: Matt Hancock says shutting down UK cities may become necessary – latest updates
Scientific publications and reports and news
The Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak in China—Summary of a China CDC Report
Presumed Asymptomatic Carrier Transmission of COVID-19 2762028  

Differential diagnosis of illness in patients under investigation for the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), Italy, February 2020
Secondary attack rate and superspreading events for SARS-CoV-2
A basic reproduction number, R0, of about 2 was estimated for severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in Wuhan, China, early in the outbreak.1, 2 However, this value only captures the average dynamics of transmission; a crucial question for control is whether specific situations and settings might be driving the outbreak. The secondary attack rate (SAR), defined as the probability that an infection occurs among susceptible people within a specific group (ie, household or close contacts), can provide an indication of how social interactions relate to transmission risk.
COVID-19 in Singapore—Experience and Critical Issues That Require Attention and Action
RT-PCR Test Results in Patients Recovered From COVID-19
Coronavirus Disease 2019 and Influenza

The world gets ready-Covid-19 is now in 50 countries, and things will get worse. But there are proven ways to limit the damage

Amid a virus lockdown, how are China’s migrant workers surviving? A sense of powerlessness can hurt as much as dwindling savings

We Knew Disease X Was Coming. It’s Here Now.
We need to stop what drives mass epidemics rather than just respond to individual diseases.

Coronavirus outbreak: the key scientific questions answered
What are the statistics on surviving Covid-19? When might a vaccine be ready? Find out here

Everything you need to know about the coronavirus
Strategies shift as coronavirus pandemic looms
The global march of COVID-19 is beginning to look unstoppable. In just the past week, a countrywide outbreak surfaced in Iran, spawning additional cases in Iraq, Oman, and Bahrain. Italy put 10 towns in the north on lockdown after the virus rapidly spread there. An Italian physician carried the virus to the Spanish island of Tenerife, a popular holiday spot for northern Europeans, and Austria and Croatia reported their first cases. Meanwhile, South Korea's outbreak kept growing explosively and Japan reported additional cases in the wake of the botched quarantine of a cruise ship.
Nowcasting and forecasting the potential domestic and international spread of the 2019-nCoV outbreak originating in Wuhan, China: a modelling study
Since Dec 31, 2019, the Chinese city of Wuhan has reported an outbreak of atypical pneumonia caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Cases have been exported to other Chinese cities, as well as internationally, threatening to trigger a global outbreak. Here, we provide an estimate of the size of the epidemic in Wuhan on the basis of the number of cases exported from Wuhan to cities outside mainland China and forecast the extent of the domestic and global public health risks of epidemics, accounting for social and non-pharmaceutical prevention interventions.
COVID-19 outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship: estimating the epidemic potential and effectiveness of public health countermeasures
Cruise ships carry a large number of people in confined spaces with relative homogeneous mixing. On 3 February, 2020, an outbreak of COVID-19 on cruise ship Diamond Princess was reported with 10 initial cases, following an index case on board around 21-25 January. By 4 February, public health measures such as removal and isolation of ill passengers and quarantine of non-ill passengers were implemented. By 20 February, 619 of 3,700 passengers and crew (17%) were tested positive.
Consequences of the Outbreak on Economy

Covid-19 presents economic policymakers with a new sort of threat
It mixes demand and supply effects

The new coronavirus could have a lasting impact on global supply chains
Multinationals have failed to take seriously the risk of disruption

Pandemics and The Failure of Finance: "Buying unnecessary ‘insurance’ is just that – unnecessary."
Coronavirus Is Different. Almost No Company Is Safe.
Fast-spreading disease snarls factories and business travel; epidemic is ‘not going to sink the U.S. economy’

Italy readies measures worth 3.6 billion euros to tackle coronavirus

Coronavirus weighs on South Korea February trade; ministry says worse to come

Switzerland will lower economic growth forecasts over coronavirus

Germany has means to respond if coronavirus sparks economic crisis: finance minister

Indian automakers say China coronavirus outbreak hitting parts supply
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 Centeroften, as the outbreak is constantly evolving

Training course:

Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control


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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