Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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March 3, 2020

Note: although we include case counts to help provide situational awareness to our readers, the numbers are constantly changing. Please refer to the WHO or the public health agencies of the affected countries for the latest information.

WESTERN PACIFIC REGION The Chinese National Health Commission reported 125 new confirmed cases and 31 new deaths; all of the deaths have occurred in Hubei Province. There have been a total of 80,151 confirmed cases in China and 2,943 deaths. There has been a consistent decline in the number of new cases confirmed daily in China, suggesting a slowing in local transmission. However, there have been 8 cases confirmed in individuals with travel history to Italy. The Japanese Ministry of Health reported 14 new confirmed infections, bringing the total there to 268 confirmed cases, of which 241 are symptomatic and 27 asymptomatic. South Korea Centers for Disease Control confirmed 600 new cases, bringing the total there to 4,812. Of the newly reported cases, 519 are in Daegu. In other news, South Korea CDC has released a table detailing the epidemiological links between the 4,812 confirmed cases. 

MIDDLE EASTERN REGION The Iranian Ministry of Health confirmed 835 new cases and 11 new deaths, bringing the total reported there to 2,336 confirmed cases and 77 deaths. 23 new cases in Iran are among Members of Parliament; members are now being directed to avoid contact with the public. The Ministry of Health reported that 22 labs are capable of conducting testing for SARS-CoV-2 with a combined estimated throughput of 1,200 tests per day. The World Health Organization Mission arrived in Tehran to provide technical guidance and review ongoing response activities. Thus far cases from Iran have been exported to Afghanistan, Canada, Lebanon, Pakistan, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, and United Arab Emirates. 

Jordan , Morocco , and Saudi Arabia have confirmed their first cases of COVID-19. The Ministry of Health in Saudi Arabia confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in traveler from the Kingdom of Bahrain who had previously traveled to Iran. The Jordanian Ministry of Health confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a traveler from Italy. The first case of COVID-19 in Morocco is an individual with travel history to Italy. 

EUROPEAN REGION The European Centers for Disease Control reported a total of 2,495 cases and 56 deaths. The majority of the cases are in Italy which has reported 1,835 cases and 52 deaths overall. The health system in Italy is becoming overwhelmed by the increased numbers of patients and demands for more intensive care. According to Italian health officials , 10% of healthcare workers are unable to work due to either testing positive for the virus or being placed under quarantine following an exposure. Interventions such as accelerated graduation for students and bringing clinicians out of retirement are being considered in order to bolster the public health response. 

Andorra , Gibraltar Portugal , and Ukraine are each reporting new cases. The first case in Andorra is a 20 year old female with travel history to Milan. The Ukraine Health Ministry has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a traveler from Romania who had previously been in Italy. The two initial cases in Portugal are among a traveler from Italy and from a traveler from Spain. The confirmed case in the British territory of Gibraltar is a returned traveler from Northern Italy. 

The United Kingdom released “ Coronavirus: action plan - A guide to what you can expect across the UK ” which outlines what is known about the SARS-COV-2 and COVID-19; the state of planning for an infectious disease outbreak; response actions taken to date; future plans based on how the epidemic evolves; and the role the public. 

The ECDC released an estimation of the amount of resources that could be needed for contact tracing, quarantine, and monitoring activities associated with the EU COVID-19 response. The guidance outlines the amount of time and human and material resources needed to prepare for different public health response capabilities, and provides additional insight on scenarios with increased transmission. 

REGION OF THE AMERICAS The most recent WHO situation update reports that the Dominican Republic had identified the first case of the disease there, and that Mexico has seen three new cases, bringing the country’s total to 5 confirmed cases. The Ecuadorian Minister of Health reported yesterday that their total cases have increased to 6. 

US UPDATE As of this morning , 15 US states have reported a total of over 100 cases, including 6 deaths in Washington. Texas, Washington state, California, and Nebraska are all reporting over 10 cases each, including those evacuated from Wuhan or the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The greater Seattle region has become the first big hotspot of disease transmission in the United States, and there have been discussions amongst city officials on strategies to develop quarantine facilities that can house future patients. 

The United States is still working to ramp up their testing capacity, an essential element of disease detection. A tweet from the Association of Public Health Laboratories shared that, as of 4PM EST yesterday, that 46 US labs were live with testing and that 12 more were in the process of coming online. Yesterday, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced that New York health insurers must waive the cost sharing that comes with COVID-19 testing. The US CDC has released additional guidance for citizens, including protective actions one can take at polling stations during today’s ‘Super Tuesday’ primary elections.  

ECONOMIC IMPACTS Italy and Indonesia have introduced stimulus packages in an attempt to increase liquidity of the financial system. The United States and European Union are also considering similar measures while acknowledging the complexities of the decision. These measures can aid in bolstering consumer spending during times of decreased demand. The US Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a point in an attempt to shield the economy from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic.