WHO COVID-19 Situation Reports, June

30 June, 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.

30 June: Situation Report 162 has been published and highlights the humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and the support UNICEF and WHO are providing to Syria.

Yemen is currently undergoing the “world’s worst humanitarian emergency”, in addition to the COVID-19 pandemic. WHO has joined with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre to provide access to care in remote areas through the use of a minimum service package. The additional support has resulted in 293 facilities remaining functional, and providing healthcare access to more than 4 million people.

UNICEF and WHO have provided support for a national immunization campaign amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign lasted five days and ensured nearly one million children were caught up with their routine vaccination schedule. The campaign was conducted in cooperation with the Syrian Ministry of Health and involved thousands of health workers, hundreds of mobile teams, and more than 600 temporary vaccination centres.

Today’s Subject in Focus is “A partnership for a global risk communication and community engagement collective service to beat COVID-19.” It discusses the formation of a Global Risk Communication and Community Engagement Collective Service in partnership with the WHO, UNICEF and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent (IFRC), supported by the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The service intends to (directly quoted from Situation Report 162):

  • Strengthen coordinated approaches in order to maximize the sharing of resources, information and expertise at global, regional and country levels;
  • Improve quality and shift the focus towards community engagement approaches grounded on social data, perceptions and community insights which regularly inform public health measures, inter-agency standards and monitoring frameworks;
  • Amplify the views and perspectives of communities, enabling them to influence decision-making within the response; and
  • Strengthen local capacity and existing coordination mechanisms, through [Risk Communication and Community Engagement] mentoring support and resource sharing with local actors working in the public health, humanitarian and development sectors.

29 June: Situation Report 161 focuses on the global landmark of 10 million cases, and nearly half a million deaths. Specifically highlighted is the fact that many countries have reported record numbers of new cases in 24 hour periods. WHO continues to advise everyone to take measures to “reduce transmission, extend testing and contact tracing, and provide optimal care for every case.” Links to guidance documents, and public advice were also provided. WHO also published a timeline of the last six months and the pandemic response.

28 June: Several countries have reported record high cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, increasing the global total by over 189,000 cases. The Americas region accounts for over 60%, with cases in the South-East Asia region steadily growing throughout June.

The WHO recently published an interim guidance on 'Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19' to assist countries. The first ‘Infodemiology Conference’ is being held from 29 June – 21 July. This conference aims to respond to and manage the overabundance of information during this pandemic, as well as establish a public health community to practice and research this new scientific field.

27 June: In update #159, over 179,000 cases and 6,800 deaths were added to the global total. The ACT-Accelerator investment case has been published, calling for US$27.9 billion dollars. This provides an overview of the ACT-Accelerator, its goals, and the investments that are required to carry out its mission of ensuring equitable access to tools in the fight against COVID-19. Additional interim guidance documents have been published, including a Rapid Hospital Readiness Checklist and a Biomedical Equipment for COVID-19 Case Management Tool. Cases studies of Nigerian health workers volunteering to work in COVID-19 hospitals are also shared.

26 June: Highlighted in today’s Situation Report is discussion of German and French financial support for the WHO; further news about declaring the tenth outbreak of Ebola in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) over; and discussion about “how digital technology and artificial intelligence can empower people.”
In yesterday’s media briefing, Director-General Tedros thanked the Ministers of Health for both Germany and France for attending and for their support. Dr Tedros also noted the longstanding friendship of both countries with the WHO and global health.
With regards to the tenth Ebola outbreak in the DRC being declared over, it is hoped that the knowledge gained, and momentum built, can be applied to help manage COVID-19. The tenth outbreak was the longest ever, having begun in August 2018. With 3,740 cases and 2,287 deaths, the tenth outbreak was the second deadliest in history after the one from 2014-2016 in West Africa. Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa, stated “The DRC is now better, smarter and faster at responding to Ebola and this is an enduring legacy which is supporting the response to COVID-19 and other outbreaks.”
In a separate press briefing, Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, focused on the role digital technology can play in contact tracing and reducing the spread of disease in general and COVID-19 in particular. Several countries have implemented solutions for contact tracing, some with apps and others with telemedicine. Dr Kluge’s three main focus points were (directly quoted from the article):

  • Go digital, but go wisely
  • Build trust by respecting privacy
  • Address the digital gap

The Subject in Focus of Situation Report 158 is: Support to National Rapid Response Teams through interactive online courses. “WHO supports the capacity building of national Rapid Response Teams (RRT) on COVID-19 and has prepared an online learning package aimed at individual members of national RRTs.” The COVID-19 National Rapid Response Teams Online Learning Package aims to enable national RRTs to better respond to COVID-19 outbreaks. The package includes several modules and can be accessed via phone or computer. Further details can be found here.

25 June: Highlights from today's Situation Report include the Director-General's comments about supplies and easing restrictions made during the regular media briefing on 24 June, the announcement of the end of the tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and discussion about the high case numbers in the United States. In the briefing on 24 June, Director-General Dr Tedros emphasized "One of the most effective ways of saving lives is providing oxygen to patients who need it." Estimates by the WHO of global medical oxygen needs show that at the current level of spread, approximately 1 million new cases per week, 88,000 large oxygen cylinders or 620,000 cubic meters of oxygen is needed each day. Demand for oxygen concentrators, used to make medical grade oxygen, is greater than the current supply. Full details of his comments, including those regarding easing of restrictions can be found here. The Subject in Focus of today's situation report is an "Update to the Interim guidance on Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19." The latest update replaces the guidance published on 22 March. Full details can be found here.

24 June: Today’s highlights discuss the role of Mr Bean in the fight against COVID-19, Olympic Day, and breastfeeding and COVID-19. Mr Bean has participated in a joint effort with WHO, Project Everyone, and Tiger Aspect Productions by producing a cartoon Public Service Announcement (PSA). The 30 second long video provides a checklist of essential practices to prevent infection and spread of COVID-19. 23 June was Olympic Day, and the Olympic Committee, WHO and the United Nations have created a partnership encouraging everyone to be #HEALTHYTogether. Olympic athletes will participate by delivering public health information and setting examples for people to follow. WHO also published a brief today discussing breastfeeding and COVID-19. WHO recommends breastfeeding even with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection, stating that “the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.”
The Subject in Focus for Situation Report 156, updates the WHO’s work on logistical support with diagnostics and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). The WHO is shipping more than 230 million items of PPE to 135 countries. Other diagnostic tools and biomedical equipment are also being provided to several countries.

23 June: Today's top highlight notes that WHO Director-General Dr Tedros will join Global Citizen's, Global Goal: Unite for Our Future campaign along with other global leaders. The event is designed to provide leaders and governments with an opportunity to commit to "fair distribution of tools and treatments for COVID-19." The WHO's Regional Office for the Americas has been selected by Global Citizen as a "regional implementing partner."
WHO also announced information on dexamethasone has been added to its Q&A page. Also highlighted is Dr Tedros' statement in his regular media briefing from 22 June urging countries to remember fundamental public health measures, while balancing the social and economic consequences of the pandemic. "It's not a choice between lives and livelihoods. Countries can do both."
The Subject in Focus is "Sports events and COVID-19: from lockdown to a new start." It summarizes the webinar of 18 June hosted by WHO's Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN). A key discussion point was "Measures to bring about a "new start" for sport in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic should be developed in consultation with legal, public health and occupational health experts, and with specific consideration to the epidemiological context, the type of sports events in question, and the characteristics of the venues where they will take place."

22 June: The top highlight in today’s COVID-19 Situation Report is an alert from WHO to “maintain vigilance for influenza and prepare for the upcoming influenza season…”. It is recommended that countries use the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS) to monitor both influenza and COVID-19.

The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has sent experts in public health to Tajikistan to assist with the country’s COVID-19 response. Assistance is also being provided to Uzbekistan regarding their COVID-19 testing capacity and options. Also highlighted is the story of a nurse in Turkey who shares his experience and how his daily activities are “actively preventing the spread of the disease within communities, thereby protecting the health of hundreds of people.”

21 June: In report #153, the WHO Regional Director for Europe shared that the European Region accounts for 31% of COVID-19 cases and 43% of COVID-19 deaths globally and emphasised the need to prepare for autumn. The WHO Regional Director for the Eastern Mediterranean reiterates that despite growing knowledge about the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still much unknown about the disease. As more is understood, recommendations for control measures will evolve.

WHO Regional Office for the Americas highlight that “services for the prevention and treatment of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) have been critically affected since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the Region”.

Oman has launched new technology, named ‘Tarassud Plus’. Tarassud Plus includes “a combination of a mobile application using artificial intelligence, with enhanced features that include up-to-date COVID-19 statistics, guidelines and best practices to prevent the spread of infection”.

20 June: Report #152 includes an overview of WHO Director-General media briefing yesterday, highlighted World Refugee Day and the risks of COVID-19 for this vulnerable population. WHO has released two publications – an updated ‘Criteria for releasing COVID-19 patients from isolation’ which includes recent data supporting individuals whose symptoms have resolved may still test positive for the COVID-19, but are unlikely to transmit the virus to others. The 'Emergency Global Supply Chain System (COVID-19) catalogue' 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.”

Today's report includes case number and fatalities by WHO region. This illiterates the Americas to be the worst affected by the pandemic with over 4 million cases and more than 200,000 deaths.

19 June: The top highlight from today's situation report discusses WHO's decision to stop further study of hydroxychloroquine as part of the Solidarity trial. Data shows that use of this medication does not reduce mortality of hospitalised patients with COVID-19. Announced today was the roll out of the WHO Academy. The goal is to create a global digital learning platform for health professionals where they can enhance their competencies. The courses are available in multiple languages and have already seen almost 3.5 million enrolments. Also highlighted was the increase in domestic violence in countries affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. A brief addressing this was published, and outlines actions that can be taken. Today's Subject In Focus summarizes "virtual meetings held on COVID-19 preparedness and response at points of entry from the WHO Regional Office for Africa."

18 June: Report #150 gives an overview of the growing cluster of cases linked to a wholesale market in Beijing, China (more details in our news item). The largest number of global daily cases was reported, with over 180,000 new cases added to the total. The majority are from the Americas region, with a steadily growing proportion from South East Asia.

The subject in focus is on caring for babies and children of infected mothers, with advice from the updated guidance document. The advice remains “mothers with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 should be encouraged to initiate and continue breastfeeding [...] the benefits of breastfeeding substantially outweigh the potential risks for transmission.” Mothers should be recommended to wear a medical mask if available.

17 June: The top highlight of today’s situation report is about the use of dexamethasone, an anti-inflammatory drug, to treat coronavirus. Initial clinical trial results from the United Kingdom (UK) found that it can reduce mortality by about one third for critically ill patients on ventilators. The medication was also found to reduce mortality for patients only requiring oxygen, not a ventilator, by about one fifth. The reduction in mortality was only seen in patients who were seriously ill. Patients with milder disease were not shown to benefit.

Also highlighted was the concern from world leaders that older people have been severely affected. The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres noted "our response to COVID-19 must respect the rights and dignity of older people".

The Director for the WHO Regional Office for the Americas (PAHO), Dr. Carissa F. Etienne, has requested that countries “work together to strengthen the health response within their territories and across frontiers (PAHO) has also "extended its alliance with Twitter" in an effort to combat infodemics by providing reliable and factual information about the pandemic in the Americas region. Further information about infodemics, and the WHO response and plan can be found in Situation Report 148 from 16 June noted below.

Today's Subject in Focus provides an update on the operational and logistical support of WHO response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa. One way WHO is providing support is through the roll-out of a Partnership to Accelerate Testing in Africa (PACT), with the goal of increased testing, contact tracing, and treatment throughout the region.

16 June: Yemen is noted as the “world’s worst humanitarian crisis”, now complicated by COVID-19 and the health threat it poses. Also highlighted was WHO Director General Dr Tedros’ comment from his briefing on 15 June, stressing “Despite the ongoing global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we cannot lose sight of other significant public health issues, including influenza”. There has been a sharp decline in surveillance and testing for influenza due to the COVID-19 pandemic; it is important to address this as flu season begins in the southern hemisphere. The Subject in Focus looks at the WHO Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN), which is addressing rumours and spread of mis-information, and management of “infodemics” during the pandemic. Management of infodemics includes the use of webinars to communicate with “trusted amplifiers” so that they have the knowledge they need. These webinars have involved hundreds of subject matter experts and panellists, reaching more than 12,000 people in 121 countries.

15 June: WHO published guidelines on maintaining essential services to help ensure access to healthcare for those who have difficulty even in non-pandemic times. Reminding people that COVID-19 does not appear sexually transmitted (though saliva can transmit it), they published a piece on sexual and reproductive health in the pandemic. They also reminded people that optimal health can be achieved by making smart lifestyle choices about physical activity, food, tobacco and alcohol. Data shows the benefits of breastfeeding outweigh any risk of potentially spreading COVID-19, which International SOS covered in Pandemic News last week. The Subject in Focus is the Solidarity Trials.

14 June: Another update on the Beijing cluster. For further details see the separate news item, and the Medical Alert on the International SOS country guides. Tomorrow is World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. WHO believes that abuse towards older people has risen significantly during the COVID-19 pandemic, and published an awareness piece with additional resources.

13 June: Today's update includes early information about the cluster of new cases in Beijing. For further details see the separate news item, and the Medical Alert on the International SOS country guides.

12 June: WHO issued guidelines for rapid chest imaging in COVID-19 patients and an appeal to the private sector for preparedness and response activities for COVID-19 locally, nationally and globally. Among the "asks" in this document are actions to protect stakeholders and businesses, making essential supplies available, and providing financial support. Canada pledged $5 million to pandemic response in the Americas, and medical staff from the Republic of the Congo share their stories.

11 June: Report number 143 highlights rising cases in the Eastern Mediterranean region and WHO’s support to Somalia for expanding their Early Warning, Alert and Response Network (EWARN) countrywide. The subject in focus is the Updated Guidance Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19. They advise masks should “be used as part of a comprehensive package of prevention and control measures to limit the spread of COVID-19” but that masks alone are not sufficient to stop the spread. They also detail the who, which and when of mask wearing based on updated evidence.

10 June: There is concern over the Americas, one of the current hotspots for COVID-19, as the director of the Pan American Health Organization states, “In South America, our response to the pandemic will be impacted by the arrival of winter, while hurricane season will complicate our efforts in North and Central America, and especially in the Caribbean." The region needs to prepare to combat the effects of winter and hurricanes on COVID-19 response. The "Subject in Focus" provides an update on operations support and logistics supplies.

9 June: Situation report 141 has been published. Highlights today include the following:

  • More than seven million cases and 400,000 deaths have been reported globally. While the situation in Europe is improving, the global situation is worsening.
  • The WHO Regional Office for the Americas has published guidance for reducing COVID-19 transmission in indigenous populations.
  • WHO supports the global movement against racism, and recommends protesters maintain social distance of at least one metre, and wear face masks.
  • Posters on parenting and risk engagement were published, including: "learning through play, keeping calm and managing stress, keeping children safe online, family budgeting in times of financial stress, and talking about COVID-19."
8 June: A new technical note describes medical certification and classification of deaths related to COVID-19, with a goal to identify all deaths due to this disease in all countries. New vaccine funding was pledged at the Global Vaccine Summit to enable Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, to protect people and decrease disease inequality by bringing vaccines to an additional 300 million children by 2025. The "Subject in Focus" is an update on WHO coordination with partner organizations.

7 June: WHO Regional Office for Europe has joined forces with 17 member states of the Central European Initiative (CEI) to improve COVID-19 response and alleviate the impact of the pandemic and to function as a platform to share information among member states. Also, on World Food Safety Day, WHO has reminded everyone of the Five Keys to Safer Food, including basic principles that everyone should be familiar with to prevent foodborne disease, which will also provide protection against COVID-19, such as hand washing. Additionally, WHO Office for the Americas stated that markets selling live animals increase the risk of animal-to-human transmission of diseases, and so there should be increased inspections for sale of live animals to prevent the spread of diseases.

6 June: Situation report 138 highlights the response of community front liners in Angola in the battle against COVID-19. On 5 June, World Environment Day, the focus was on "Time for Nature" which called for celebrating biodiversity and preserving it. The Subject in Focus is the updated interim guidance on key planning recommendations for mass gatherings in the context of COVID-19, which has the latest WHO recommendations on COVID-19. "The guidance provides advice to host governments, health authorities and event organizers on containing COVID-19 risks associated with a mass gathering, and on mitigating the likelihood of strain on health services."

5 June: Guidance on mask use has been updated to reflect evolving evidence. The advice for the public page has also been updated. WHO has published interim guidance on considerations, opportunities and challenges of integrating digital tools into contact tracing methods and for polio surveillance in the context of COVID-19, in part to help nations make decisions about polio surveillance activities at country level in the context of the ongoing pandemic. The International Civil Aviation Organization has published "Take-off: Guidance for Air Travel through the COVID-19 Public Health Crisis" which is covered as the "Subject in Focus" today.

4 June: Situation report 136 highlights the response to the latest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the President of Mauritius meeting with the country's WHO representative, and emphasized "...Maintaining social distancing measures, improving surveillance, and strengthening health systems are key to controlling the COVID-19 pandemic in [the Americas] region".

3 June: WHO published basic guidance on psycho-social skills [PDF 4.68 MB] to assist with maintaining good mental health during the pandemic. The subject in focus of today's situation report is "Returning to work in the context of COVID-19". This was the subject of their recent webinar of 29 May, focusing on ways to ensure the safety of people and communities as business operations resume amid relaxation of lockdown restrictions. WHO recommendations include maintaining social distancing, and ensuring that appropriate mitigation plans are implemented, specific to each job. Further, WHO recommended that the return to work should be done with sufficient resources, in phases, and have the ability to adapt further as the situation evolves.

2 June: Situation report 134 has been published. A major highlight is from yesterday's briefing where Director-General Dr. Tedros notes that the pandemic is negatively affecting provision of medical care for chronic conditions. In relation to this, the second highlight is the publication of operational guidance for maintaining essential health services. Another highlight discusses how logistics experts coordinate medical supply shipments to Yemen. The Subject in Focus discusses how WHO is assisting procurement of medical oxygen products in vulnerable countries.

1 June: A case report form for suspected cases of multisystem inflammatory syndrome (MIS) in children and adolescents temporally related to COVID-19 has been published, updated from the one initially released on 20 May. The Subject in Focus is accelerating vaccine development. More than 120 candidate vaccines have been mapped and sites in 40 countries have expressed an interest to join the Vaccine Solidarity Trial.

The Situation Reports for May can be viewed here.


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