On December 31, 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) was informed of an outbreak of “pneumonia of unknown cause” detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China – the seventh-largest city in China with 11 million residents. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020.
“As of 13 April, more than 1.7 million people have been infected,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director‐General, in its latest 18-page report, “and almost 85 000 people have lost their lives. WHO grieves with all families who have lost a loved one, and salutes health workers all over the world who have put themselves in harm’s way every day to save lives.”
The report is intended to help guide the public health response to COVID-19 at national and subnational levels, and to update the global strategy to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have learned so much about this virus,” said Dr Tedros “and we’re still learning. This strategy update is based on the evidence the world has accumulated in the past three months about how COVID-19 spreads, the severity of disease it causes, how to treat it, and how to stop it.”
In the report, WHO outlines 6 key conditions every government must meet if it wants to end a coronavirus lockdown.
1. COVID‐19 transmission is controlled to a level of sporadic cases and clusters of cases, all from known contacts or importations and the incidence of new cases should be maintained at a level that the health system can manage with substantial clinical care capacity in reserve.
2. Sufficient health system and public health capacities are in place to enable the major shift from detecting and treating mainly serious cases to detecting and isolating all cases, irrespective of severity and origin.
3. Outbreak risks in high‐vulnerability settings are minimized, which requires all major drivers and/or amplifiers of COVID-19 transmission to have been identified, with appropriate measures in place to minimise the risk of new outbreaks and of nosocomial transmission (e.g. appropriate infection prevention and control, including triage, and provision of personal protective equipment in health care facilities and residential care settings).
4. Workplace preventive measures are established to reduce risk, including the appropriate directives and capacities to promote and enable standard COVID-19 prevention measures in terms of physical distancing, hand washing, respiratory etiquette and, potentially, temperature monitoring.
5. Risk of imported cases managed through an analysis of the likely origin and routes of importations, and measures would be in place to rapidly detect and manage suspected cases among travellers (including the capacity to quarantine individuals arriving from areas with community transmission).
6. Communities are fully engaged and understand that the transition entails a major shift, from detecting and treating only serious cases to detecting and isolating all cases, that behavioural prevention measures must be maintained, and that all individuals have key roles in enabling and in some cases implementing new control measures.
Read full report here: