COVID-19 situation: 19 March 2020

To view images in this newsletter, please allow images and html options. 

View this email in your browser

Pandemic Threats and Health Emergencies

COVID-19 situation: 19 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 by 00:00CET18 March 2020

  • new country/territory/area (European Region [1]) has reported cases of COVID-19.
  • Data presented in the COVID-19 Situation Reports has changed to reflect data reported as of 00:00CET. As this is the first Situation Report with the new reporting period, there is overlap of data between Situation Report 57 and this report, thus the number of new cases may not equal the difference between total cases in the two reports.
  • WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports present official counts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, thus differences between WHO reports and other sources of COVID-19 data using different inclusion criteria and different data cutoff times are to be expected.
  • WHO, IFRC, and UNICEF jointly released the Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Action Plan Guidance for COVID-19 on 16 March.

Situation in Numbers
Total and new cases in last 24 hours

  • 191 127 confirmed (15 123) 7807 deaths (786)
  • Western Pacific Region 91 845 confirmed (312) 3357 deaths (23)
  • European Region 74 760 confirmed (10 911) 3352 deaths (604)
  • -East Asia Region 538 confirmed (63) 9 deaths (1)
  • Eastern Mediterranean Region18 060 confirmed (1552) 1010 deaths (140)
  • Regions of the Americas 4979 confirmed (2243) 68 deaths (18)
  • African Region 233 confirmed (42) 4 deaths (0)

WHO Risk Assessment
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.

China’s National Health Commission 19 March: Daily briefing
On March 18, 31 provincial-level regions on the Chinese mainland as well as the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps reported 34 new cases of confirmed infections, 23 new cases of suspected infections, and 8 deaths (all in Hubei province). 819 patients were released from hospital after being cured. 1,032 people who had had close contact with infected patients were freed from medical observation. Serious cases decreased by 308.

China's Wuhan reports zero increase in novel coronavirus infections

Italy death toll rises to 3,405, overtaking China

Deaths in Spain rise to 767 as lockdown continues

France reports a major spike in coronavirus deaths as total rises to 372

Coronavirus outbreak in Iran: "50 people are contracting COVID-19 every single hour"
More than 600 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Africa
Control Measures
Coronavirus update: humanitarian work must continue, ‘no exceptions’ for bold action in Europe, ensure sufficient medicine stocks
UN humanitarian agency issues reminded that millions need humanitarian aid, WHO Europe want countries to take “bold steps” to stop coronavirus, and a UN-backed narcotics body calls for sufficient stocks of medicine to be maintained.
COVID-19: Agencies temporarily suspend refugee resettlement travel
A “vital lifeline” for vulnerable families forced to flee their homelands has fallen victim to the COVID-19 pandemic as two UN agencies announced on Tuesday that they are temporarily suspending resettlement travel for refugees.

ICC-WHO Joint Statement: An unprecedented private sector call to action to tackle COVID-19

Watch: Coronavirus survives on surfaces up to 72 hours. Here’s how to protect yourself

Drug makers are racing to develop immune therapies for Covid-19. Will they be ready in time?

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

Mass testing, school closings, lockdowns: Countries pick tactics in ‘war’ against coronavirus

Social distancing prevents infections, but it can have unintended consequences

EU Commission launches European team of scientific experts to strengthen EU coordination and medical response

EU leaders to hold coronavirus video conference on March 26
 US latest developments:

  • That makes 50: On Tuesday West Virginia became the last state to confirm its first Covid-19 case.
  • The Pentagon will provide civilian health authorities with 5 million respirator masks and 2,000 specialized ventilators to help them respond to the pandemic.
  • The Bay Area's near-lockdown, which aims to slow the spread of the coronavirus, is ushering in a new reality for biopharma companies and biomedical labs. 
  • A Texas-based health care system announced it would convert one of its hospitals in Boston into a treatment center for patients with Covid-19.
  • Regeneron said it has developed hundreds of potential Covid-19 drugs and that it may enter clinical trials by early summer.
  • In response to a dire shortage of tests for detecting the fast-moving coronavirus, the FDA is giving states new powers to authorize laboratories to develop their own diagnostic.

Scientific publications and reports and news

An updated guide to the coronavirus drugs and vaccines in development

'Tip of the iceberg': is our destruction of nature responsible for Covid-19?
Amplification effect
In 2008, Jones and a team of researchers identified 335 diseases that emerged between 1960 and 2004, at least 60% of which came from animals.
Increasingly, says Jones, these zoonotic diseases are linked to environmental change and human behaviour. The disruption of pristine forests driven by logging, mining, road building through remote places, rapid urbanisation and population growth is bringing people into closer contact with animal species they may never have been near before, she says.

A fiasco in the making? As the coronavirus pandemic takes hold, we are making decisions without reliable data
The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date, some deaths and probably the vast majority of infections due to SARS-CoV-2 are being missed. reasonable estimates for the case fatality ratio in the general U.S. population vary from 0.05% to 1%.

Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2)
We estimate 86% of all infections were undocumented (95% CI: [82%–90%]) prior to 23 January 2020 travel restrictions. Per person, the transmission rate of undocumented infections was 55% of documented infections ([46%–62%]), yet, due to their greater numbers, undocumented infections were the infection source for 79% of documented cases. These findings explain the rapid geographic spread of SARS-CoV2 and indicate containment of this virus will be particularly challenging.

Poor bear brunt of coronavirus
WHO is calling for ramped-up response as COVID-19 spreads to 8 of the 11 countries in the region, and more countries head towards community transmission. Adding to challenges, millions of poor and homeless people across Asia face a heightened risk of contracting the virus.

Five key questions for vaccine hunters

  • The first human clinical trial for a potential coronavirus vaccine, developed by the drug company Moderna, started in the United States this week. Inovio Pharmaceuticals plans to begin similar safety trials for its SARS-CoV-2 vaccine in April. These are the five key questions vaccine researchers will be trying to answer about people’s immune response to the virus and how to ensure any vaccine is safe and effective.

(Nature | 6 min read)

(Nature | Continuously updated)

  • The US government’s crackdown on scientists who do not disclose the research that they conduct in China prompted chemist Weihong Tan to leave the University of Florida. Now at Hunan University in south-central China, Tan says he has co-developed a quick coronavirus test that produces results in 40 minutes.

(ProPublica | 28 min read)

The coronavirus pandemic in five powerful charts
From papers published to carbon emissions to confirmed cases, these data reveal an unprecedented viral outbreak and its impacts around the world.
Read the latest coronavirus news, continuously updated on Nature.

Scientists have been sounding the alarm on coronavirus for months. Why did Britain fail to act?

Urgent investment needed for diagnostics, treatments and vaccines to end the COVID-19 pandemic

We know enough now to act decisively against Covid-19. Social distancing is a good place to start
Why coronavirus looks different in kids than in adults –
The Washington Post

Children and Coronavirus: Research Finds Some Become Seriously Ill
A study of more than 2,000 children with the virus in China found that babies were especially vulnerable to developing severe infection.

Virus redefines respecting personal space

What China’s coronavirus response can teach the rest of the world
Researchers are studying the effects of China's lockdowns to glean insights about controlling the viral pandemic.

Africa Braces for Coronavirus, but Slowly
The virus has not yet hit most of the African continent hard, and neither has social distancing.

Is Mexico Prepared to Confront Coronavirus?

Mideast states must share more information on coronavirus cases: WHO

NGOs raise alarm as coronavirus strips support from EU refugees
NGOs warn lone children in particular have been effectively abandoned as Covid-19 forces support services to shut   Substantial undocumented infection facilitates the rapid dissemination of novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) Science

Novel Coronavirus “COVID-19”: Special Considerations for Pregnant Women –
Kaiser Health News  

What Went Wrong with Coronavirus Testing in the U.S. –
The New Yorker

The Coronavirus And The Poor: Lessons From Ebola –
WBUR (commentary)

Self-Isolation Orders Pit Civil Liberties Against Public Good In Coronavirus Pandemic – NPR  

Don’t rush to deploy COVID-19 vaccines and drugs without sufficient safety guarantees – Nature (commentary)

Regeneron says potential Covid-19 drugs could start human tests by early summer –

COVID-19 coronavirus epidemic has a natural origin
An analysis of public genome sequence data from SARS-CoV-2 and related viruses found no evidence that the virus was made in a laboratory or otherwise engineered.
Consequences of the Outbreak on society and Economy

The Federal Reserve announced an emergency lending program to keep credit flowing, saying it will buy up commercial paper, a type of short-term debt.
The Federal Reserve said it would try to keep credit flowing to households and businesses by buying up commercial paper, short-term promissory notes companies use to fund themselves.
At the same time, the Trump administration is preparing to ask for about $850 billion in additional stimulus to support the economy, which is facing a deep downturn as businesses close as the coronavirus spreads.
Read the latest

France's economy hit hard by COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus is grounding the world’s airlines
The aviation industry may not fully recover from the effects of the pandemic

Updated WHO Myth buster
WHO Technical guidance
List of WHO guidance by topic  
< >Surveillance and case definitionsLaboratory guidanceClinical management for suspected novel coronavirusHome care for patients with suspected novel coronavirusInfection prevention and controlRisk communicationsReadiness checklistDisease commodity packageReducing transmission from animals to humansEarly investigations- 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



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  


unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences