EMERGENCIES – Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Editor’s Note:
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

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Situation report – 47 [WHO]
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
07 March 2020
[Excerpts]
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Globally :: 101.927 confirmed [3735 new]
China :: 80,813 confirmed [102 new]
:: 3,073 deaths [28 new]
Outside of China
:: 21,110 confirmed [3633 new]
:: 93 countries/territories/areas [5 new]
:: 413 deaths [78 new]

WHO RISK ASSESSMENT
China – Very High
Regional Level – Very High
Global Level – Very High

HIGHLIGHTS
:: 5 new countries/territories/areas (Colombia, Holy See, Peru, Serbia, and Togo) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
:: The global number of reported cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000.
:: OpenWHO has reached 161, 000 learners in COVID-19 courses. The introductory course on COVID-19 has been partially or fully translated into 17 national languages. For more information, and to enroll in these free courses, please visit OpenWHO’s COVID-19 channel.

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WHO statement on cases of COVID-19 surpassing 100,000
7 March 2020 Statement
As of today’s reports, the global number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000. As we mark this sombre moment, the World Health Organization (WHO) reminds all countries and communities that the spread of this virus can be significantly slowed or even reversed through the implementation of robust containment and control activities.

China and other countries are demonstrating that spread of the virus can be slowed and impact reduced through the use of universally applicable actions, such as working across society to identify people who are sick, bringing them to care, following up on contacts, preparing hospitals and clinics to manage a surge in patients, and training health workers.

WHO calls on all countries to continue efforts that have been effective in limiting the number of cases and slowing the spread of the virus.

Every effort to contain the virus and slow the spread saves lives. These efforts give health systems and all of society much needed time to prepare, and researchers more time to identify effective treatments and develop vaccines.

Allowing uncontrolled spread should not be a choice of any government, as it will harm not only the citizens of that country but affect other countries as well.

We must stop, contain, control, delay and reduce the impact of this virus at every opportunity. Every person has the capacity to contribute, to protect themselves, to protect others, whether in the home, the community, the health care system, the workplace or the transport system.

Leaders at all levels and in all walks of life must step forward to bring about this commitment across society.

WHO will continue to work with all countries, our partners and expert networks to coordinate the international response, develop guidance, distribute supplies, share knowledge and provide people with the information they need to protect themselves and others.

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World Bank Group Announces Up to $12 Billion Immediate Support for COVID-19 Country Response
Fast Track Financing for Developing Countries
ASHINGTON, March 3, 2020 — 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 and economic impacts of the global outbreak. This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies. The financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.

The COVID-19 support package will make available initial crisis resources of up to $12 billion in financing — $8 billion of which is new — on a fast track basis. This comprises up to $2.7 billion new financing from IBRD; $1.3 billion from IDA, complemented by reprioritization of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and $6 billion from IFC, including $2 billion from existing trade facilities. It will also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge.

“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.”…

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CEPI welcomes UK Government’s funding and highlights need for $2 billion to develop a vaccine against COVID-19
06 Mar 2020
“It is increasingly clear that containment measures for COVID-19 can only slow down its spread and the virus is now entering a stage of unprecedented threat in terms of its global impact. While we heartily support the range of public health measures that governments are putting in place to protect their populations, it is critical that we also invest in the development of a vaccine that will prevent people from getting sick in the first place. Working as part of the global response, CEPI has committed $100 million of its own funds and moved with unprecedented speed to initiate a programme of vaccine development with the goal of having vaccine candidates in early stage clinical trials in as little as 16 weeks. However, these funds will be fully allocated by the end of March and without immediate additional financial contributions the vaccine programmes we have begun will not be able to progress and ultimately will not deliver the vaccines that the world needs.
Dr. Richard Hatchett
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI

In response to this call, the UK government today announced £20m of additional funding and urged other donors to join the efforts to find a vaccine. This builds on £30 million of funding the UK Government has previously given to CEPI to support its vaccine development work against COVID-19 and other emerging infectious diseases.

 

Funding call
CEPI was founded as a global partnership between public, private, philanthropic, and civil society organisations to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases and enable equitable access to these vaccines for people during outbreaks. CEPI has become the lead actor on COVID-19 vaccine development and has the institutional expertise, networks, and agility to move rapidly. However, while CEPI has begun the process by supporting 4 vaccine candidates with more programmes due to be announced, without additional funding no programme will be able to progress through the earliest phase of clinical testing.

 

Today’s call for $2 billion of new funding will enable CEPI to expand the number of vaccine candidates at the outset to increase our chances of success, and to fund the clinical trials for these candidate vaccines. Our ambition is to have at least 3 vaccine candidates, which could be submitted to regulatory authorities for licensure for general use/use in outbreaks.

CEPI has identified five funding phases:
$100m immediately, to support
o Vaccine development for 8 candidates through phase 1 clinical trials

 

$375m by END OF MARCH, to support
o Manufacturing of clinical trial material for phase 2/3 trials for 4-6 vaccine candidates
o Preparation of phase 2/3 trials for 4-6 vaccine candidates (potential initiation of phase
2 trial for 1 candidate)
o Initial investments to expand global manufacturing capacity. These investments are needed to ensure the vaccine is ultimately available at scale and globally

 

$400m by END OF JUNE, to support
o Execution of phase 2/3 trials for at least 2 candidates
o Preparation of phase 2/3 clinical trials in a number of locations globally
o Production of additional phase 2/3 clinical trial material
o Further investment in scaling up / technology transfer of manufacturing process for up to 6 candidates

 

$400m by END OF SEPTEMBER, to support
o Conduct of phase 2/3 clinical trials for additional 4 candidates in a number of locations globally
o Investment in large-scale manufacturing capacity for at least 3 vaccine candidates

 

$500-750m in 2021, to support
o Enhancing global manufacturing capacity with tech transfer to geographically
distributed locations of up to 3 candidates
o Completion of clinical trial testing
o Completion of regulatory and quality requirements for at least 3 vaccines
o Preparation of regulatory dossiers for emergency authorization/licensure submission

To ensure availability of funds and reflecting the many uncertainties that still surround COVID-19, the World Bank has created a financial vehicle whereby funds can be returned to donors if not used for the response or if the epidemiological picture changes and vaccine development is deemed unwarranted.

Alternatively, at the donor’s discretion, funds may be retained at the World Bank for use in a future Disease X scenario…

 

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UN releases $15 million to help vulnerable countries battle the spread of the coronavirus
NEW YORK / GENEVA, 1 March 2020 – UN Humanitarian Chief Mark Lowcock today released US$15 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to help fund global efforts to contain the COVID-19 virus.

The announcement came as the World Health Organization (WHO) upgraded the global risk of the coronavirus outbreak to “very high” – its top level of risk assessment. The WHO has said there is still a chance of containing the virus if its chain of transmission is broken.

The sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning. There are now cases linked to Iran in Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait and Oman, along with cases linked to Italy in Algeria, Austria, Croatia, Germany, Spain and Switzerland.

The UN funding has been released to the WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). It will fund essential activities including monitoring the spread of the virus, investigating cases, and the operation of national laboratories.

The WHO has called for US$675 million to fund the fight against coronavirus. There is a window of opportunity to contain the spread of the virus if countries take robust measures to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients, and trace contacts.

Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Mark Lowcock said: “We do not yet see evidence that the virus is spreading freely. As long as that’s the case, we still have a chance of containing it.

“But swift and robust action must be taken to detect cases early, isolate and care for patients, and trace contacts. We must act now to stop this virus from putting more lives at risk…

 

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National Health Commission of the People’s Republic of China
http://en.nhc.gov.cn/
News
March 7: Daily briefing on novel coronavirus cases in China
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.

Xi calls for accelerated vaccine push
Updated: 2020-03-03 China Daily
President inspects research facilities, listens to scientists
President Xi Jinping stressed the importance of medical research on the diagnosis and treatment of novel coronavirus pneumonia on March 2.

Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, inspected the Academy of Military Medical Sciences and Tsinghua University School of Medicine, learning about progress on the vaccine, antibodies, medicine and fast testing kit research and applications.

Xi then chaired a symposium to listen to views and advice from officials and researchers.
The most powerful weapon to fight diseases is science and technology, Xi said, adding that mankind’s victory over disasters and epidemics relies on scientific development technological innovation.

He said scientific research on COVID-19 is a major and urgent task, and he required coordinated efforts to speed up such measures.

At the Academy of Military Medical Sciences, Xi said science and technology are the key to increase the recovery rate, decrease the fatality rate and finally defeat the disease.

… Xi said that trying to save more patients remains the top priority, and medical research should be integrated with clinical treatment. He urged more coordinated efforts to apply research to clinical treatment, speed up research on medicines and promote the integration of traditional Chinese and Western medicines.

 

The safety of a vaccine should be a top priority, Xi said. He instructed researchers to speed the development of a vaccine and closely follow vaccine research in other countries to promote clinical trials and application of a vaccine as early as possible.

He required establishment of a national vaccine reserve system and preparations for the possibility of regular prevention and control work.

Xi said new technologies like artificial intelligence and big data should be used to clarify where the virus came from and where it may go. He stressed the importance of psychological health for patients, family members and people in quarantine for a long time…

 

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[U.S.] White House

Remarks by President Trump After Tour of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention | Atlanta, GA
Mar 7, 2020

Press Briefing by Vice President Pence and Members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force
Mar 6, 2020

 

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