While we have concentrated the most current key reports just below, COVID-19 announcements, analysis and commentary will be found throughout this issue, in all sections.
Beyond the considerable continuing coverage in the global general media:
Daily WHO situation reports here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) daily press briefings here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Situation report – 39 [WHO]
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
28 February 2020
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Globally :: 83,652 laboratory-confirmed [1358 new]
[Week ago: 77,794 laboratory-confirmed [599 new]]
China :: 78,961 laboratory-confirmed [331 new]
:: 2,791 deaths [109 new]
Outside of China
:: 4,691 laboratory-confirmed [1027 new]
:: 52 countries [28 countries last week]
:: 67 deaths [10 new]
WHO RISK ASSESSMENT
China – Very High
Regional Level – Very High
Global Level – Very High
:: Five new Member States (Belarus, Lithuania, Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nigeria) reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
:: WHO has increased the assessment of the risk of spread and risk of impact ofCOVID-19 to very high at the global level. More information can be found here.
:: The WHO-China Joint Mission, which was conducted from 16 through 24February, has published its findings. The full report can be found here.
:: WHO has updated the guidance on Global Surveillance for human infection with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). This document includes revised surveillance case definitions for COVID-19.
:: As of 27 February, there are 36 117 (26 403 in Hubei and 15 826 in Wuhan) cases who have recovered from COVID-19 in China.
:: Under the International Health Regulations (2005), States Parties implementing additional health measures that significantly interfere with international traffics hall notify WHO of the public health rationale of those measures within 48 hours of their implementation. As of 27 February, 41 States Parties are officially reporting additional health measures.
Here is the report of the WHO-China Joint Mission on Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), published as received from the mission, unabridged by WHO
16-24 February 2020 :: 40 pages
IV. Major Recommendations
1. Maintain an appropriate level of emergency management protocols, depending
on the assessed risk in each area and recognizing the real risk of new cases and
clusters of COVID-19 as economic activity resumes, movement restrictions are
lifted, and schools reopen;
2. Carefully monitor the phased lifting of the current restrictions on movement and
public gatherings, beginning with the return of workers and migrant labor,
followed by the eventual reopening of schools and lifting other measures;
3. Further strengthen the readiness of emergency management mechanisms, public
health institutions (e.g. CDCs), medical facilities, and community engagement
mechanisms to ensure sustained capacity to immediately launch containment
activities in response to any resurgence in cases;
4. Prioritize research that rapidly informs response and risk management decisions,
particularly household and health care facility studies, age-stratified seroepidemiologic
surveys and rigorous investigation of the animal-human interface;
establish a centralized research program to fast-track the most promising rapid
diagnostics and serologic assays, the testing of potential antivirals and vaccine
candidates, and Chinese engagement in selected multi-country trials; and
5. As the country with the greatest knowledge on COVID-19, further enhance the
systematic and real-time sharing of epidemiologic data, clinical results and
experience to inform the global response.
For countries with imported cases and/or outbreaks of COVID-19
1. Immediately activate the highest level of national Response Management
protocols to ensure the all-of-government and all-of-society approach needed to
contain COVID-19 with non-pharmaceutical public health measures;
2. Prioritize active, exhaustive case finding and immediate testing and isolation,
painstaking contact tracing and rigorous quarantine of close contacts;
3. Fully educate the general public on the seriousness of COVID-19 and their role in
preventing its spread;
4. Immediately expand surveillance to detect COVID-19 transmission chains, by
testing all patients with atypical pneumonias, conducting screening in some
patients with upper respiratory illnesses and/or recent COVID-19 exposure, and
adding testing for the COVID-19 virus to existing surveillance systems (e.g.
systems for influenza-like-illness and SARI); and
5. Conduct multi-sector scenario planning and simulations for the deployment of
even more stringent measures to interrupt transmission chains as needed (e.g.
the suspension of large-scale gatherings and the closure of schools and
For uninfected countries
1. Prepare to immediately activate the highest level of emergency response
mechanisms to trigger the all-of-government and all-of society approach that is
essential for early containment of a COVID-19 outbreak;
2. Rapidly test national preparedness plans in light of new knowledge on the
effectiveness of non-pharmaceutical measures against COVID-19; incorporate
rapid detection, largescale case isolation and respiratory support capacities, and
rigorous contact tracing and management in national COVID-19 readiness and
response plans and capacities;
3. Immediately enhance surveillance for COVID-19 as rapid detection is crucial to
containing spread; consider testing all patients with atypical pneumonia for the
COVID-19 virus, and adding testing for the virus to existing influenza surveillance
4. Begin now to enforce rigorous application of infection prevention and control
measures in all healthcare facilities, especially in emergency departments and
outpatient clinics, as this is where COVID-19 will enter the health system; and
5. Rapidly assess the general population’s understanding of COVID-19, adjust
national health promotion materials and activities accordingly, and engage
clinical champions to communicate with the media.
For the public
1. Recognize that COVID-19 is a new and concerning disease, but that outbreaks
can managed with the right response and that the vast majority of infected
people will recover;
2. Begin now to adopt and rigorously practice the most important preventive
measures for COVID-19 by frequent hand washing and always covering your
mouth and nose when sneezing or coughing;
3. Continually update yourself on COVID-19 and its signs and symptoms (i.e. fever
and dry cough), because the strategies and response activities will constantly
improve as new information on this disease is accumulating every day; and
4. Be prepared to actively support a response to COVID-19 in a variety of ways,
including the adoption of more stringent ‘social distancing’ practices and helping
the high-risk elderly population.
For the international community
1. Recognize that true solidarity and collaboration is essential between nations to
tackle the common threat that COVID-19 represents and operationalize this
2. Rapidly share information as required under the International Health Regulations
(IHR) including detailed information about imported cases to facilitate contact
tracing and inform containment measures that span countries;
3. Recognize the rapidly changing risk profile of COVID-19 affected countries and
continually monitor outbreak trends and control capacities to reassess any
‘additional health measures’ that significantly interfere with international travel
27 February 2020 Statement
A Joint Statement on Tourism and COVID-19 – UNWTO and WHO Call for Responsibility and Coordination
As the current outbreak of the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) continues to develop, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) are committed to working together in guiding the travel and tourism sectors’ response to COVID-19.
On 30 January 2020, the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of COVID-19 to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern and issued a set of Temporary Recommendations. WHO did not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and the global community on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.
Cooperation is key
The tourism sector is fully committed to putting people and their well-being first. International cooperation is vital for ensuring the sector can effectively contribute to the containment of COVID-19. UNWTO and WHO are working in close consultation and with other partners to assist States in ensuring that health measures be implemented in ways that minimize unnecessary interference with international traffic and trade.
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.
UNWTO and WHO stand ready to work closely with all those communities and countries affected by the current health emergency, to build for a better and more resilient future. Travel restrictions going beyond these may cause unnecessary interference with international traffic, including negative repercussions on the tourism sector.
At this challenging time, UNWTO and WHO join the international community in standing in solidarity with affected countries.