As your partner in health and safety, we are continuously monitoring regulatory updates that may affect your operations. See the WHO's latest COVID-19 updates and resources below.
Global Tuberculosis (TB) Progress at Risk
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many countries were making steady progress in tackling tuberculosis (TB), with a 9% reduction in incidence seen between 2015 and 2019 and a 14% drop in deaths in the same period. Approximately 1.4 million people died from TB-related illnesses in 2019. Of the estimated 10 million people who developed TB that year, some 3 million were not diagnosed with the disease, or were not officially reported to national authorities.
Disruptions in services caused by the COVID-19 pandemic have led to setbacks. In many countries, human, financial and other resources have been reallocated from TB to the COVID-19 response. Data collection and reporting systems have also been negatively impacted. According to the new report, data collated from over 200 countries has shown significant reductions in TB case notifications. These reductions in case notifications could lead to a dramatic increase in additional TB deaths, according to WHO modeling.
Impact of COVID-19 on People's Livelihoods, Their Health and Our Food Systems
The COVID-19 pandemic has led to a dramatic loss of human life worldwide and presents an unprecedented challenge to public health, food systems and the world of work. The economic and social disruption caused by the pandemic is devastating: tens of millions of people are at risk of falling into extreme poverty, while the number of undernourished people, currently estimated at nearly 690 million, could increase by up to 132 million by the end of the year.
Global Challenge for Movement on Mental Health Kicks Off as Lack of Investment in Mental Health Leaves Millions Without Access to Services
The extraordinary increase in mental health needs ̶ with the added challenges of COVID-19 ̶ is taking its toll on already overburdened and under-resourced mental health services. The #MoveforMentalHealth challenge is asking people around the world to post videos showing what they do in support of their mental well-being ̶ whether it be dancing, walking, doing yoga, cooking, painting or something else entirely, on their favorite social media platforms, using the hashtag #MoveForMentalHealth.
One Year Commemoration of the High-Level Meeting: Measuring Progress, Challenges and Opportunities in the Context of COVID-19
A year ago, this September, world leaders met to endorse the Political Declaration on Universal Health Coverage (UHC). The one-year anniversary of the meeting is an opportune time to reflect on the commitments made then and considering the lessons learned and fault lines exposed during COVID-19.
Beyond the immediate challenges and long-term consequences of COVID-19, the pandemic presents an opportunity to develop more equitable and resilient health systems, better aligned with the principles of universal health coverage, in order to limit direct mortality and avoid indirect mortality, ensuring better health and well-being for all. The event on October 8, 2020, 8:00-9:30 a.m. (EST) will be available in English, French and Spanish.
COVID-19 Disrupting Mental Health Services in most Countries, WHO Survey
The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide while the demand for mental health is increasing, according to a new WHO survey. The survey of 130 countries provides the first global data showing the devastating impact of COVID-19 on access to mental health services and underscores the urgent need for increased funding.
The survey was published ahead of WHO’s Big Event for Mental Health ̶ a global online advocacy event on 10 October that will bring together world leaders, celebrities, and advocates to call for increased mental health investments in the wake of COVID-19.
WHO has previously highlighted the chronic underfunding of mental health: prior to the pandemic, countries were spending less than 2% of their national health budgets on mental health, and struggling to meet their populations’ needs. And the pandemic is increasing demand for mental health services.
WHO Publishes Interactive Timeline of its Response
To mark six months since WHO declared a public health emergency of international concern, the highest level of alarm under international law, WHO published an interactive timeline showcasing how the organization has acted on information, science, leadership, advice, response and resourcing.
WHO Experts to Travel to China
WHO experts will travel to China to work together with their Chinese counterparts to prepare scientific plans for identifying the zoonotic source of the SARS-COV-2 virus. The goal is to advance the understanding of animal reservoirs and the route of transmission to humans.
Five Concepts Countries are to Deploy to Respond to COVID-19
Although a vaccine will be an important long-term tool for controlling COVID-19, there are five priorities that every single country must focus on now, to save lives now.
- First, empower communities. Every individual must understand that they are not helpless – there are things everyone should do to protect themselves and others. Your health is in your hands.
- Second, suppress transmission. Whether countries have no cases, clusters of cases or community transmission, there are steps all countries can take to suppress the spread of the virus.
- Third, save lives through early identification and clinical care such as providing oxygen and dexamethasone to people with severe and critical disease, and paying special attention to high-risk groups, including elderly people in long-term care facilities.
- Fourth, accelerate research toward both a vaccine as well as clinical treatment.
- Fifth, political leadership for national unity and global solidarity are essential to implementing a comprehensive strategy to suppress transmission, save lives and minimize the social and economic impact of the virus.
Hydroxychloroquine (Malaria Medication) Trial Stopped
Data from multiple trials showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients, when compared with standard of care. Investigators will not randomize further patients to hydroxychloroquine treatment in the Solidarity Trial.
African Case Count Accelerates
The pandemic is accelerating in Africa—it took 98 days to reach 100 000 cases and only 18 days to move to 200 000 cases. 10 out of 54 countries are currently driving the rise in numbers, accounting for nearly 80% of all the cases. More than 70% of the deaths are taking place in only five countries: Algeria, Egypt, Nigeria, South Africa and Sudan. WHO and other partners have supported governments with scaling up health workforce and laboratory capacities and to set up points-of-entry screening at airports and border crossings. These public health and social measures have been effective in slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Africa.
Illustrated Guide on Psychosocial Skills for COVID-19 Responders
Aimed at those on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response—from food store staff to employers to emergency responders—WHO has released illustrated advice for taking care of one’s own mental well-being, communicating with empathy, and helping people suffering from stress or severe distress.
Guidance for Maintaining Essential Health Services
WHO released a guidance document that recommends practical actions that countries can take at national, subregional and local levels to reorganize and safely maintain access to high-quality, essential health services in the pandemic context. It also outlines sample indicators for monitoring essential health services and describes considerations on when to stop and restart services as COVID-19 transmission recedes and surges.
COVID-19 Disrupting Routine Immunizations
WHO reported as many as 80 million children are at risk of diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio due to the lack of routine vaccinations as COVID-19 hinders typical healthcare. The effect is in rich and poor countries alike. A mass vaccination campaign is being launched.
Collaboration with WHO and International Olympic Committee to Improve Health Through Sport
The two organizations will work with host countries to ensure health of athletes, supporters and workers at the games. Further, they will promote grassroots and community sports programs that have further reach within the general public, particularly among girls, older people and people living with disability who may find it harder to keep active and healthy during COVID-19 quarantines.
UN Policy Brief on COVID-19 and the Need for Action on Mental Health
WHO released statement to United Nations indicating evidence of greater mental health need. Studies report a 3-fold increase in the prevalence of symptoms of depression, alcohol consumption has increased, access to mental health is decreased due to quarantine activities, front-line healthcare workers, women, children, adolescents, and older persons are “all at particular risk.”
WHO Statement on Tobacco Use and COVID-19
WHO Issued statement that tobacco or nicotine does not provide any protection or treatment for COVID-19. There is evidence to suggest those who smoke are at greater risk of severe illness if infected.
WHO Statement on False Allegations in Der Spiegel
Released a statement on false allegations in Der Spiegel. WHO indicated that Der Spiegel wrongly reported a telephone conversation on 21 January, 2020 between WHO director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and President Xi Jingping of China.
WHO Released Statement Celebrating the 40 Year Anniversary of Eradication of Smallpox
The statement drew parallel lessons for the COVID-19 response. “Many of the basic public health tools that were used successfully then are the same tools that have been used to respond to Ebola, and to COVID-19: disease surveillance, case finding, contact tracing, and mass communication campaigns to inform affected populations.” According to WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
WHO Released Guidance for Public Health and Social Measures
WHO Released interim guidance for Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 preparedness and response operations in low capacity and humanitarian settings. The document aims to adapt known and published best practices for populations that may not have adequate resources to implement those best practices. Major categories of efforts include:
- Mobilize all sectors and communities (leaders, health care workers, volunteers, local authorities, NGOs, international organizations
- Prevent, suppress and slow transmission
- Find, test, isolate and treat cases, quarantine contacts
- Provide appropriate clinical care
https://interagencystandingcommittee.org/system/files/2020-05/IASC Interim Guidance on Public Health and Social Measures for COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Operations in Low Capacity and Humanitarian Settings.pdf
WHO Announced UN and Partners Launch $6.7B Appeal for Vulnerable Countries
Humanitarian experts believe the peak of COVID-19 for the world’s poorest countries will hit within the next three to six months. Initial funding is being used to install handwashing facilities in refugee camps and provide countries with medical supplies such as gloves, surgical masks, N95 respirators and testing kits.
WHO Global Pledging Event Raises Over 7.4B Euros for COVID-19 Research and Development
WHO Announced New Partnership with the European Investment Bank
WHO announced new partnership with the European Investment Bank to strengthen public health, supply of essential equipment, training, and investment in countries most vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic. First phase will address needs in ten African countries.
Key Criteria for the Easing of Social Restrictions Were Published
Included four key components to managing transitions and modulating restrictive measures:
- Public health and epidemiological considerations must drive the decision-making process.
- Available capacity for dual-track health system management to reinstate regular health services, while at the same time continuing to address COVID-19
- Leveraging social and behavioral perspectives as tools for responsive engagement with populations
- Social and economic support to mitigate the devastating effects of COVID-19 on individuals, families and communities
These six conditions should be used as the basis to implement/adapt transitioning of measures:
- Evidence shows that COVID-19 transmission is controlled
- Sufficient public health and health system capacities are in place to identify, isolate, test and treat all cases, and to trace and quarantine contacts
- Outbreak risks are minimized in high-vulnerability settings, such as long-term care facilities
- Preventative measures are established in workplaces, with physical distancing, handwashing facilities and respiratory etiquette in place, and potentially thermal monitoring.
- Manage the risk of exporting and importing cases from communities with high-risks of transmission
- Communities have a voice, are informed, engaged and participatory in the transition