Note: There is now a newer Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Report 39.
WHO Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Situation Report 38
- Nine new Member States (Brazil, Denmark, Estonia, Georgia, Greece, Norway, Pakistan, Romania, and North Macedonia) reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
- WHO and the World Tourism Organization released a joint statement regarding responsibility and coordination on tourism and COVID-19.
- OpenWHO, a web-based learning platform, has launched the free online courses Introduction to Emerging Respiratory Viruses, Including Novel Coronovirus, in Portuguese and Health and Safety Briefing for Respiratory Diseases –ePROTECT in French today.
- WHO is utilizing an international network of expert laboratories to provide support in the detection of the COVID-19 virus globally. For more information, please see the Subject in Focus below.
China: Very High
Regional Level: High
Global Level: High
Coronavirus Situation in Numbers
- 82294 confirmed cases (1185 new)
- 78630 confirmed cases (439 new)
- 2747 deaths (29 new)
Outside of China
- 3664 confirmed cases (746 new)
- 46 countries (9 new)
- 57 deaths (13 new)
Situation In Focus: Laboratory Network and Detection
On January 9, 2020, WHO published interim laboratory guidance for detection of the novel coronavirus. This guidance is continually updated as more data becomes available and includes advice on sample collection, diagnostic testing, and pathogen characterization. Specific interim guidance on biosafety in the laboratory has also been published. An update to the guidance for the international shipment of specimens will follow soon. WHO is utilizing an international network of expert laboratories to provide support in the detection of the COVID-19 virus globally.
The diagnostic landscape of this outbreak is changing quickly. The first COVID-19 cases were detected using genomic sequencing, but multiple RT-PCR commercial and non-commercial assays have since been developed. As the international case load increases, there is an urgent need to rapidly scale up diagnostic capacity to detect and confirm cases of COVID-19. WHO has taken a three-pronged approach to enhance global diagnostic capacity for the COVID-19 virus:
- Developing a WHO network of 15 COVID-19 reference laboratories with demonstrated expertise in the molecular detection of coronaviruses. These international laboratories can support national labs to confirm the COVID-19 virus and troubleshoot their molecular assays.
- Strengthening national capacity for detection of the COVID-19 virus so that diagnostic testing can be performed rapidly without the need for overseas shipping. Existing global networks for detection of respiratory pathogens are being utilized including, notably, the National Influenza Centers that support the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System.
- Ensuring ongoing test availability. WHO has procured a commercial assay (manufactured under ISO:13485) with strong performance data and shipped to over 150 laboratories globally as an interim measure for Member States requesting support. The main goal is to strengthen global diagnostic capacity for detection of the COVID-19 virus. Support is now also provided to ensure the quality of testing through the implementation of an External Quality Assurance mechanism.
Public health efforts are targeted at both interrupting further transmission and monitoring the spread of COVID-19. As reports of asymptomatic cases increase, the need for reliable serology testing is becoming more urgent. There are a number of groups working on this and developments are being monitored.
Countries, territories or areas with reported laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths, February 27, 2020
|Republic of Korea||1766|
|International (Cruise Ship in Japan)||705|
|United States of America||59|
|United Arab Emirates||13|
Recommendations and Advice for the Public
If you are not in an area where COVID-19 is spreading, or if you have not traveled from one of those areas or have not been in close contact with someone who has and is feeling unwell, your chances of getting it are currently low. However, it’s understandable that you may feel stressed and anxious about the situation. It’s a good idea to get the facts to help you accurately determine your risks so that you can take reasonable precautions.
Your healthcare provider, your national public health authority and your employer are all potential sources of accurate information on COVID-19 and whether it is in your area. It is important to be informed of the situation where you live and take appropriate measures to protect yourself.
If you are in an area where there is an outbreak of COVID-19 you need to take the risk of infection seriously. Follow the advice issued by national and local health authorities. Although for most people COVID-19 causes only mild illness, it can make some people very ill. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and those with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes) appear to be more vulnerable.