WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports, August

17 August, 2020

Note: official reports inherently have a time lag. The situation is rapidly evolving, and the number of cases and countries/territories with exported cases may have already increased since these reports were issued. See the International SOS Latest News for the latest information. Only selected reports are highlighted here; all are available in their entirety at World Health Organization COVID-19 Situation Reports website.

WHO is changing the daily report starting Monday 17 August. It will be replaced by a weekly epidemiological update, focused on analysis and interpretation of the evolving epidemiological situation. The WHO COVID-19 global dashboard functionality has been upgraded to show data that has been available in the daily situation reports. Narrative updates are being merged into the WHO "rolling updates" pages.

16 August: The Government of South Africa welcomed the WHO experts that will be supporting the Ministry of Health. As part of WHO’s overall COVID-19 response, South Africa is scaling up hygiene in health facilities. The support is provided through the UHC partnership.

15 August: WHO and its partners have called on governments to ensure their citizens have access to controlled medications, both for COVID-19 and other conditions. The Pan American Health Organization's data shows that vaccination coverage in the Americas has decreased during the pandemic, due to concerns about COVID-19 exposure risk and the challenges of providing service during a pandemic. It’s been six months since the first cases of COVID-19 were detected in Africa. Countries continue to experience a gradual increase of cases. In a joint statesment “The International Narcotics Control Board (INCB), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) call on governments to ensure that the procurement and supply of controlled medicines in countries meet the needs of patients, both those who have COVID-19 and those who require internationally controlled medicines for other medical conditions.”

14 August: Health workers in Nigeria’s Niger Delta, have used their response to COVID-19 to strengthen and unify surveillance strategies, which increases their capacity to detect and report on infectious diseases such as measles, yellow fever, and COVID-19.

The "Subject in Focus" discusses updated guidance on home care for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19. Specifically, the technical document published in March has been updated to reflect updated case definitions and clinical management to align with newer information on the disease. It also outlines decision making to decide which patients can be appropriately cared for at home and provides specific advice for health workers and caregivers providing or supporting care in a patient’s home.

13 August: WHO experts have suggested Azerbaijan to strengthen its contact tracing and testing capabilities in order to further improve its response to COVID-19.

For schools to reopen safely during the pandemic, access to handwashing facilities is significant. However, WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) has found that in 2019, at least 43% of schools around the world do not have such facilities.

In Haiti, over 2,800 community health workers have been trained as part of COVID-19 response efforts, and meetings with community leaders have been conducted to ensure accurate information about COVID-19 is provided.

In the WHO European region, despite the extreme burden on healthcare systems caused by COVID-19, there has been continuous efforts to eliminate measles and rubella.

12 August: WHO Regional Director for the Americas expressed concern that the pandemic is threatening regional plans to eliminate and control infectious diseases including tuberculosis, HIV and hepatitis. A Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development is being formed to recommendations investments and reforms to improve the resilience of health and social care systems in the region.

WHO has published the Emergency Global Supply Chain System (COVID-19) catalogue, which lists all medical devices, including personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medical consumables, single use devices, laboratory and test-related devices that may be requested through the COVID-19 Supply Portal.

11 August: Today’s update celebrates International Youth Day and reflects on the role young people have to play in this pandemic as the ‘Subject in Focus’. Young people are called upon to avoid the three C’s - crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces - to help minimise transmission.

The WHO Director-General, Dr Tedros, sends a message of solidarity to people in Beirut, Lebanon, following a deadly explosion there last week. He also states that as the world approaches 20 million COVID cases there are two essential elements needed to suppress the virus. These are leaders who take action and citizens embracing the measures.

10 August: Today’s "Subject in Focus"’ discusses the COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Progress Report released last week (see story 2 August below). A global epidemiological overview of COVID-19 for the week ending 9 August, is also presented.

9 August: In a media briefing last week Dr Tedro said "Now it's time to work together. Now it's time to fight the virus" and Dr Mike Ryan also said "we have to create a new partnership. A new deal between government services and community action. Communities’ individuals have to be empowered, educated. They have to want to participate."

8 August: WHO have published guidance on the public health surveillance of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in humans caused by infection with severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). A plane carrying 20 tonnes of trauma and surgical supplies from WHO has landed in Lebanon .

7 August: Nearly 1 million cases have been reported in Africa, where WHO is increasing COVID-19 support to hotspot countries in Africa. WHO published a scientific brief on wastewater surveillance in the context of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Two new documents on the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility were published: one outlines global procurement for COVID-19 vaccines and the other focuses on insuring accelerated vaccine development and manufacturing.

6 August: Update 199 covers a recent global discussion on SARS-CoV-2 Modes of Transmission as the ‘Subject in Focus’. Over 700 attendees from a range of institutions and expertise areas discussed the rapidly progressing research on how the virus transmits. “High-quality research is urgently needed to further improve our understanding of the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, risk factors for infection, settings and conditions which can amplify transmission and to understand infectious dose.” The WHO will publish a summary and conclusion shortly.

The WHO regional offices have put out various statements. The America’s Office warns against consuming chlorine products as COVID-19 treatments. The South-East Asia Office calls for countries to continue providing essential healthcare services during the pandemic. Finally a WHO expert team is being sent to South Africa to assist the national pandemic response in the fifth worst affected country.

5 August: Regular health services may be interrupted due to COVID-19, particularly in pandemic hotspots. Healthcare workers are being allocated for COVID care, people are reluctant to seek non-urgent care to avoid infection, and medicine and equipment supplies are strained. WHO reiterated that babies should be breastfed if possible even if their parent has a suspected or confirmed case of COVID-19, as the benefits outweigh the risks.

To better understand fatality rates, WHO published a scientific brief "Estimating mortality from COVID-19." The document is designed to help countries estimate the proportion of deaths among identified confirmed cases (the case fatality ratio, CFR) and, if possible, the proportion of deaths among all infected individuals (the infection fatality ratio, IFR). It also discusses potential biases in data and ways to reduce them, as well as a section of why comparisons between countries can be problematic.

The Subject in Focus summarizes the age and sex distribution of confirmed COVID-19 cases from the WHO COVID-19 global surveillance database from January to July 2020. Based on the data from 133 participating countries/territories, WHO reports that 53 percent of cases were male and that most infected people (64 percent) were between 25 to 64 years old.

4 August: Over 18 million COVID-19 cases have been confirmed. With around 250,000 new cases reported each day the WHO warns there is no room for complacency. The Director-General states it’s not too late to turn the pandemic around. The WHO urges countries to increase testing, contact tracing and ensure the public take precautions against getting infected. A scientific brief on Estimating mortality from COVID-19 has been published. Addressing the COVID-19 infodemic in Africa is the ‘Subject in Focus’ today.

3 August: A nutrition expert from Yemen highlighted that malnutrition can compromise immune function, particularly among children, leaving them more susceptible to disease. WHO is supporting feeding centres in Yemen. Rwanda is using 5 robots to help fight COVID-19 by screening people's body temperatures at Kigali International Airport. Others are being used at clinics to reduce the need for medical practitioners to be exposed to patients. The robots can read vital signs, deliver video messages and instruct people on proper mask use. The report today includes a global epidemiological overview of COVID-19: week ending 2 August. The "Subject in Focus" summarizes how WHO and partners of the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network and the Global Health Cluster are working to provide support the COVID-19 response.

2 August: The WHO has published a COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Progress Report highlighting the progress made from 1 February to 30 June 2020 regarding scaling up international coordination and support, scaling up country preparedness and response by pillar and accelerating research and innovation. A new joint report from Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, and the WHO Regional Office for the Americas states “that economic recovery will only be possible by flattening the curve of contagion. It proposes three phases to control the pandemic, reactivate the economy with protection, and rebuild in an inclusive and sustainable way". A national COVID-19 laboratory up-scaling action plan is underway in Tajikistan and being supported by a Russian team from the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN). Globally, 17,660, 523 cases of COVID-19 and 680,894 deaths have been recorded.

1 August: The COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). WHO a has expressed the need for a continued response over the long term. The interim guidance Water, sanitation, hygiene (WASH), and waste management for SARS-CoV-2 has been updated. Another draft document for Target Product Profiles (TPP) for COVID-19 therapeutics has been made available. “The three sets of TPPs describe the preferred and minimally acceptable profiles for therapeutic agents for the treatment of those with COVID-19, ranging from mild through critically ill patients”.

View past news for WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports.


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