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

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


Weekly Epidemiological and Operational updates
Last update: 24 April 2021
Confirmed cases :: 145 216 414 [week ago: 134 139 501]
Confirmed deaths :: 3 079 390 [week ago: 2 992 193]
Countries, areas or territories with cases :: 223



Statement on the seventh meeting of the International Health Regulations (2005) Emergency Committee regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic
19 April 2021 Statement
The seventh meeting of the Emergency Committee convened by the WHO Director-General under the International Health Regulations (2005) (IHR) regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) took place on Thursday, 15 April 2021 from 12:00 to 16:30 Geneva time (CEST)…

The Committee recognized WHO’s and States Parties’ progress in implementing the previous advice and Temporary Recommendations from the 6th meeting of the Emergency Committee. The Committee congratulated the mission team and the report from the WHO-convened Global Study of Origins of SARS-CoV-2 and encouraged implementation of the recommendations published in the Mission report.

The Committee remains concerned that the world will not exit the pandemic unless, and until, all countries have access to appropriate supplies of diagnostics, treatments and vaccines, irrespective of their ability to pay and the capacity and financial resources to rapidly and effectively vaccinate their populations. Inequities within and among all countries is slowing the return to normal social and economic life. The Committee provided the following advice to the Director-General accordingly.  


The Director-General determined that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a PHEIC. He accepted the advice of the Committee to WHO and issued the Committee’s advice to States Parties as Temporary Recommendations under the IHR. 

The Emergency Committee will be reconvened within three months or earlier, at the discretion of the Director-General. The Director-General thanked the Committee for its work.

Advice to the WHO Secretariat [Excerpts]
COVID-19 Vaccination
1. Promote global solidarity and equitable vaccine access by encouraging States Parties and manufacturers to support the COVAX Facility, including by sharing vaccine doses, and to conduct technology transfer for local production of COVID-19 vaccines and ancillary supplies, including in low- and middle-income countries with scalable capacities.
2. Accelerate evaluation of COVID-19 vaccine candidates, encourage regulatory agencies to use reliance mechanisms, and support States Parties in strengthening their regulatory agencies to facilitate supply of vaccines with assured quality, efficacy, and safety…

Health Measures in Relation to International Traffic
14. Update the WHO December 2020 risk-based guidance for reducing SARS-CoV-2 transmission related to international travel (by air, land, and sea) based on current science and best practices that include clear recommendations for testing approaches and traveler quarantine duration, as appropriate. Incorporate an ethical framework into the updated guidance to guide national decision making. The guidance should take into consideration COVID-19 vaccination roll out, immunity conferred by past infection, risk settings, movements of migrants, temporary workers, and purpose of travel (non-essential versus essential).
15. Continue to coordinate with relevant stakeholders in the fields of international travel and transport, including ICAO, UNWTO, and IATA, for the regular review, updating, and dissemination of evidence-based guidance on travel-related risk reduction measures.
16. Continue to update the WHO interim position on the considerations regarding requirements of proof of vaccination and to produce interim guidance and tools related to standardization of paper and digital documentation of COVID-19 travel-related risk reduction measures (vaccination status, SARS-COV-2 testing and COVID-19 recovery status) in the context of international travel.
17. Continue to work with States Parties and partners to enable essential travel and repatriation and to facilitate the movement of goods to prevent delays in access to aid and essential supplies.
18. Continue to encourage vaccination of seafarers and air crews in line with the Joint statement on prioritization of COVID-19 vaccination for seafarers and aircrew.



Weekly operational update on COVID-19 – 19 April 2021
In this edition of the Weekly Operational Update on COVID-19, highlights of country-level actions and WHO support to Member States include:
:: Training critical care nurses for COVID-19 in the occupied Palestinian territory, including east Jerusalem
:: Health for all in India during the COVID-19 pandemic
:: Supporting monitoring health inequities and minimizing health service disruptions in Nigeria
:: COVAX Facility delivers COVID-19 vaccine doses to Brunei Darussalam
:: Workshop and technical dialogue on COVID-19 surveillance, testing and contact tracing in the Czech Republic
:: Addressing mental health needs amidst the COVID-19 pandemic in Nepal
:: Updates from the UN Crisis Management Team meeting and the Global Health Cluster
:: Advancing health emergency preparedness in cities and urban settings in COVID-19 and beyond
:: The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan (SPRP) 2021 resource requirements and progress made to continue investing in the COVID-19 response and for building the architecture to prepare for, prevent and mitigate future health emergencies
:: Updates on WHO/PAHO procured items, Partners Platform, implementation of the Unity Studies, and select indicators from the COVID-19 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework
Weekly epidemiological update on COVID-19 – 20 April 2021
Globally, new COVID-19 cases rose for the eighth consecutive week, with over 5.2 million new cases reported in the last week. The number of new deaths increased for the fifth consecutive week, increasing by 8% compared to last week, with over 83 000 new deaths reported. While all regions except the European Region reported an increase in incident cases in the last week, the largest increase continues to be reported by the South-East Asia Region, largely driven by India, followed by the Western Pacific Region.
In this edition, special focus updates are provided on:
:: WHO COVID-19 global rapid risk assessment
:: Pandemic influenza surveillance—drawing a parallel with the COVID-19 pandemic
:: SARS-CoV-2 variants