Daily updates on the emerging novel coronavirus from the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.
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March 4, 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.

GLOBAL SITUATION REPORT The WHO’s latest situation report notes that a total of 90,870 confirmed cases and 3,112 deaths have been reported globally across 72 countries. WHO also warned that shortages of personal protective equipment and related supply chain disruptions threaten clinician’s ability to provide care for COVID-19 patients and others. WHO Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was quoted as saying, “We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first.”

WESTERN PACIFIC REGION China’s National Health Commission reported 119 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 38 deaths, 37 of which took place in Hubei province. In total, 80,270 confirmed cases and 2,981 deaths have been reported nationwide. In addition, 2,652 hospital discharges and 143 suspected cases were also reported. The Japanese Ministry of Health reported 16 new confirmed cases for a total of 257. However, concerns have been raised that the narrowness of testing in Japan is not capturing the full picture of disease transmission. The South Korea Centers for Disease Control confirmed 516 new cases and 4 deaths, bringing their national totals to 5,328 cases and 32 deaths. 

SOUTHEAST ASIA REGION Thailand’s government is considering a proposal to enact a 14-day mandatory quarantine on travelers from countries deemed to be at high-risk. Malaysia’s COVID-19 epidemic grew by 14 cases yesterday - to a total of 50 - as health officials investigate what appears to be a superspreading event. Indonesia this week reported its first COVID-19 cases in two women from Depok, south of Jakarta. Health officials have begun contact tracing in at least 50 individuals. The Indian government has banned the export of 26 medications and active pharmaceutical ingredients without explicit consent, raising the possibility of disruptions to the pharmaceutical supply chain for essential medications. FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Hahn told Senators on Tuesday that “[w]e're working very closely to look at that list to assess how that will affect the medical supply chain” according to the New York Times .  

REGION OF THE AMERICAS   Argentina and Chile have confirmed first cases of COVID-19, the case in Argentina is an individual with travel history from Italy, and the case in Chile has a travel history to Southeast Asia. The Undersecretary of Public Health in Chile announced the countries COVID-19 plan to the Senate including surveillance plans and expansion of health centers able to safely care for COVID-19 patients. Brazil has expanded its diagnostic capacity across all regions of the country, 30,000 diagnostic kits will be distributed in order to support testing in the country. Barbados will be the first Caribbean country with testing capabilities for COVID-19.The US CDC reported 126 cases of COVID-19 in 13 states. Approximately ⅓ of cases in the US are among travelers on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship. Case counts will be updated by CDC at noon EST daily. In a White House press briefing it was announced that new testing guidance will be released enabling any American to be tested for COVID-19 without restrictions. 

EUROPEAN REGION Currently there are 2,502 confirmed cases and 79 deaths from COVID-19 in Italy, an increase in cases from the 2,036 reported yesterday. This has prompted the Ministry of Health to consider the expansion of the quarantine zone to account for the increase in cases in Bergamo, a city northeast of Milan. Poland has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 in a traveler from Germany. Liechtenstein has also confirmed its first case in an individual with previous contact with a confirmed case. The Faroe Islands confirmed its first case in an individual with a travel history to Paris. An official of European Union has tested positive for COVID-19 prompting the cancellation of the meetings scheduled at the headquarters in Brussels. 

EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN REGION The Ministry of Health in Iran reported 2,922 confirmed cases with 92 deaths. Friday prayers have been canceled in cities in an effort to prevent transmission. In addition, the prosecutor general has indicated that attempts to hoard supplies of public health importance are punishable by capital punishment. A 70 year old member of the Muslim clergy became the first death in Iraq. Currently Iraq has reported 31 cases of COVID-19. 

AFRICAN REGION  With the final Ebola patient discharged from the treatment center in the Democratic Republic of Congo infrastructure and capacity developed in response to cases of Ebola will be leveraged to support the COVID-19. This provides an important example of how investment in development of health systems can improve health security. Some measures being implemented in countries through Africa include cancellation of large gatherings such as sporting events, repatriating students from countries with outbreaks of the virus, and increasing border control measures. 

ECONOMIC IMPACTS The World Bank is making $12 billion available to support countries impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. World Bank President David Malpass said Tuesday, “[w]e're announcing today an initial package of immediate support that will make available up to $12bn to respond to country requests for crisis financing of their immediate needs and also to lessen the tragic impacts of the crisis … The point is to move fast; speed is needed to save lives." Similarly, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), announced Monday that it was making $37 million from its Emergency Reserve Fund available to the WHO, other multinational institutions and USAID-supported programs. 

MARCH MADNESS In the United States, the NCAA—the governing body for collegiate athletics—announced that it established an advisory panel to consider potential impacts of COVID-19 on the upcoming basketball national championship tournaments. Games for both tournaments will be played in numerous cities across the country. The advisory board will include university, health, and athlete representatives, including former US Surgeon General Vivek Murthy. Several days ago, the NCAA was called to consider potential risks associated with sporting events and identify appropriate solutions, potentially including playing games in empty arenas .