COVID-19 situation: 15 March 2020

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Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 15 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 on 15 March

  • 13 new countries/territories/areas have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
  • The Director-General said yesterday that Europe has now become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China.Manycountries are now acting on the eight pillars of WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan.
  • WHO published guidanceon ‘Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected’ on 13 March. The document provides clinicians with updated interim guidance on timely, effective, and safe supportive management of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19.

Situation in Numbers
Total and new cases in last 24 hours

  • Globally 142 539 confirmed (9769 new) 5393 deaths (438 new)
  • China 81021 confirmed (18 new) 3194 deaths (14 new)
  • Outside of China 61 518 confirmed (9751 new) 2199 deaths (424 new) 135 countries/territories/ areas (13new)

WHO Risk Assessment
China   Very High
Regional Level Very High
Global Level    Very High
All information about COVID- 19 can be found here:

Case Definitions
WHO periodically updates the Global Surveillance for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19)document which includes case definitions.


WHO: Europe now world's COVID-19 epicenter

Nearly 10,000 more COVID-19 cases reported outside China in 24 hours: WHO

Italy: 2,500 new cases, 250 new deaths
Italy today reported 2,547 new cases and 250 more deaths, boosting its respective totals to 17,770 cases and 1,255 deaths.
In Spain, which has the second highest total in Europe, the health ministry reported 1,063 new cases and 53 additional deaths, raising its totals to 4,209 cases, 120 of them fatal. Health officials announced the first lockdown for Spain, which affects four towns near Barcelona and 60,000 people, the Associated Press reported. Shortly after, the southeastern region of Murica also announced a lockdown. Hospitals are rapidly filling in Madrid, and government officials in the region today said the city is short on medical supplies.
Spain is expected to announce a state of emergency tomorrow, which would last at least 15 days, Business Insider reported.
Meanwhile, France reported 785 new cases and 18 more deaths, pushing its respective totals to 3,661 and 79.
The French government today banned gatherings of more than 100 people, and two top tourist attractions—The Louvre and the Palace of Versailles—announced they were closed until further notice, Reuters reported. French officials have warned that the country is facing in Italy scenario, and though the country has shuttered schools, but has not called off nationwide local elections slated for Mar 15 and Mar 22, according to the Financial Times.
Elsewhere in Europe, the WHO's online COVID-19 dashboard shows that Germany has 2,860 cases, and several others have topped 600 cases. For example, the United Kingdom today reported 208 new cases and 2 more deaths, lifting its respective totals to 798 cases, 10 of them fatal.

China’s National Health Commission 9 March: Daily briefing
On March 14, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 20 new cases of confirmed infections, 39 new cases of suspected infections, and 10 deaths (all in Hubei province). 1,370 patients were released from hospital after being cured. 1,409 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 384.

Latest developments in epidemic control on 15 March
— China has been helping individuals stranded by the coronavirus outbreak and other disadvantaged groups get through difficulties with measures including funding their board and lodging and granting them temporary allowances.
— Hubei, the hard hit province in the novel coronavirus outbreak, will introduce differentiated neighborhood management policy. The neighborhood lock-down policy will be completely lifted in both city and rural areas in those low-risk areas.
— Beijing reported one new confirmed case of novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) imported from the United States on March 13.
— All inbound flights at Beijing Daxing International Airport have been transferred to Beijing Capital International Airport as Beijing steps up efforts in minimizing the risk of imported COVID-19 cases.
— The numbers of locally transmitted confirmed and suspected cases of the COVID-19 on the Chinese mainland have been continuously falling for nearly a week, the National Health Commission spokesperson Mi Feng said on March 14.
About 72.9 percent of the COVID-19 patients in Wuhan, the capital city of Hubei province and the epicenter of the outbreak, have been discharged from hospitals after recovery.
The rates were 92.7 percent in Hubei province excluding Wuhan, and 97.3 percent on the Chinese mainland excluding Hubei. The recovery rate has been on the rise over the past week.
— A total of 198 parks in Shanghai have resumed operation as of March 14 as the novel coronavirus epidemic begins to recede, said the Shanghai Landscaping and City Appearance Administrative Bureau.
By March 20, the remaining 335 city parks, except those temporarily closed for renovation and maintenance, will also reopen to the public.
Control Measures
WHO, UN Foundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts.
Shortage of personal protective equipment endangering health workers worldwide
WHO calls on industry and governments to increase manufacturing by 40 percent to meet rising global demand.!/news-stream/post/60264/shortage-of-personal-protective-equipment-endangering-health-workers-worldwide
IAEA to support countries in the detection of novel coronavirus
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will provide diagnostic kits, equipment and training in nuclear-derived detection techniques to countries asking for assistance in tackling the ...!/news-stream/post/60662/iaea-to-support-countries-in-the-detection-of-novel-coronavirus
Commission steps up research funding and selects 17 projects in vaccine developm...
Following the publication of a €10 million call in January, the Commission has secured an additional €37.5 million for urgently needed research on COVID-19 vaccine development, treatment and...!/news-stream/post/60535/commission-steps-up-research-funding-and-selects-17-projects-in-vaccine-development-treatment-and-diagnostics
IMF makes available $50 billion to help address coronavirus
The IMF is making available about $50 billion through its rapid-disbursing emergency financing facilities for low income and emerging market countries that could potentially seek support.!/news-stream/post/60377/imf-makes-available-50-billion-to-help-address-coronavirus
World Bank Group announces up to $12 billion immediate support for COVID-19 coun...
As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health!/news-stream/post/60283/world-bank-group-announces-up-to-12-billion-immediate-support-for-covid-19-country-response

How canceled events and self-quarantines save lives, in one chart
This is how we all help slow the spread of coronavirus.

US broadens COVID-19 travel ban; Spain goes on lockdown
US travel restrictions now include flights arriving from the UK and Ireland.
More »
Trump declares COVID-19 national emergency, details sweeping testing program

Temporary hospitals play key role in curbing virus spread in Wuhan: expert
Other Countries

Spain and France announced severe restrictions on public life as coronavirus cases continued to overrun Europe. Here’s the latest.
Italy, the hardest hit country in Europe, has been locked down since early in the week, with only groceries, pharmacies and banks allowed to operate.
Read the latest

Here's what a massive coronavirus lockdown would look like in the U.S.
China and Italy have enacted sweeping restrictions to stem the new coronavirus. This is how those efforts would map onto the States.

COVID-19 shuts down Everest
Canceled climbing season deals major blow to Nepal’s fragile economy
Scientific publications and reports and news

COVID-19 may spread in several different ways
Researchers have detected COVID-19 viral RNA and live virus in specimens other than nose-throat swabs and sputum samples, raising the possibility that the disease may spread through additional routes.
In a research letter published yesterday in JAMA, Chinese scientists describe testing lung wash (bronchoalveolar lavage), lung biopsy, nasal, sputum, and blood samples for live virus in 1,070 specimens from 205 infected patients in three hospitals in China from Jan 1 to Feb 17.
In related news, a research letter today in Emerging Infectious Diseases, highlights a cluster of COVID-19 cases linked to a shopping mall in Wenzhou, China. The study's authors said that an analysis of their findings can't rule out indirect transmission of the pandemic novel coronavirus, such as via inanimate objects or aerosolization.
These underlying conditions make coronavirus more severe
High blood pressure, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease are associated with severe cases of COVID-19. Here’s how people at risk can protect themselves.

Coronavirus is officially a pandemic. Here's why that matters.

The serial interval of COVID-19 from publicly reported confirmed cases
Opening remarks by WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at the Mission briefing on COVID-19 on 13 March 2020:

Effect of non-pharmaceutical interventions for containing the COVID-19 outbreak in China

Early epidemiological assessment of the transmission potential and virulence of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in Wuhan City: China, January-February, 2020

UNFPA statement on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) and pregnancy!/news-stream/post/60445/unfpa-statement-on-novel-coronavirus-covid-19-and-pregnancy
Although the symptoms of COVID-19 are mostly respiratory, some patients suffer severe cardiovascular damage.
Four cardiologists explore the effects and the underlying mechanisms, in hopes of improving treatment for people with underlying cardiovascular diseases.
(Nature Reviews Cardiology | 7 min read)
Scientists working on mathematical models for COVID-19 are still in the early stages of characterizing the outbreak, says epidemiologist John Edmunds.
Next will come forward-looking ‘scenario planning’ models — but we need better surveillance and testing data to make those calculations more accurate.
(The Scientist | 7 min read)
Read the latest coronavirus news, continuously updated on Nature.

Top physician calls for urgent studies on nucleic acid, serum antibody
COVID-19: the gendered impacts of the outbreak
Policies and public health efforts have not addressed the gendered impacts of disease outbreaks. The response to coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) appears no different. We are not aware of any gender analysis of the outbreak by global health institutions or governments in affected countries or in preparedness phases

COVID-19 and Italy: what next?

Rapid risk assessment: Novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic: increased transmission in the EU/EEA and the UK – sixth update
In a stark and urgent COVID-19 risk assessment update today, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) said that, in a few weeks or even days, other countries in the region may face huge surges that mirror those of China and Italy.
It advised countries to quickly shift to mitigation strategies to protect vulnerable people and prevent overwhelmed hospitals.
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

The politics of pandemics
All governments will struggle. Some will struggle more than others

"Blame Game" on COVID-19 Threatens All

Read more
What happens when a new pandemic hits an ancient city?
COVID-19 has emptied out the Piazza San Marco, St. Mark’s Basilica, and other attractions. "Venice is not meant to be deserted," says one resident. "Beauty is useless unless it is shared."
EBRD to step up support for companies as coronavirus crisis deepens
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is planning to step up its support for companies across its regions of operations to help them deal with the deepening impact of t...!/news-stream/post/60869/ebrd-to-step-up-support-for-companies-as-coronavirus-crisis-deepens
IDB ready to help member countries address coronavirus
The Inter-American Development Bank is actively engaged in coordinated efforts to fight the COVID-19 outbreak with member countries and other international institutions and is prepared to he...!/news-stream/post/60851/idb-ready-to-help-member-countries-address-coronavirus
ADB to provide $200 million to support strained supply chains in fight against C...
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will make available $200 million through its Supply Chain Finance Program for companies manufacturing and distributing medicines and other items needed to co...!/news-stream/post/60841/adb-to-provide-200-million-to-support-strained-supply-chains-in-fight-against-covid-19

COVID-19 outbreak to have significant economic impact on developing Asia
The ongoing novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will have a significant impact on developing Asian economies through numerous channels, including sharp declines in domestic demand!/news-stream/post/60567/covid-19-outbreak-to-have-significant-economic-impact-on-developing-asia

COVID-19 outbreak: Closed schools, billion-dollar losses and half of the world countries affected!/news-stream/post/60711/covid-19-outbreak-closed-schools-billion-dollar-losses-and-half-of-the-world-countries-affected
UNWTO and WHO agree to further cooperation in COVID-19 response
The Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) Zurab Pololikashvili led a high- delegation to the World Health Organization (WHO) headquarters in Geneva to further advance t...!/news-stream/post/60825/unwto-and-who-agree-to-further-cooperation-in-covid-19-response
Global economy faces gravest threat since the crisis as coronavirus spreads
The coronavirus Covid-19 presents the global economy with its greatest danger since the financial crisis, according to the OECD’s latest Interim Economic Outlook. Covid-19 is spreading from ...!/news-stream/post/60136/global-economy-faces-gravest-threat-since-the-crisis-as-coronavirus-spreads
Read and download the OECD’s Interim Economic Outlook -Coronavirus: the world economy at risk.

Tourism flows and death rates suggest covid-19 is being under-reported
Indonesia, Myanmar, Russia and the Philippines have confirmed just eight cases

Stocks surged at the end of a turbulent week as business leaders pledged to support the U.S. government with virus testing.
The S&P 500 rose more than 9 percent Friday as an ongoing rally intensified after government officials and business executives spoke at a news conference at the White House in which President Trump declared a national emergency to address the spread of the coronavirus.
Read the latest
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 Center often, 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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