From Our Bureau
15TH JULY 2020
The Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic situation remained grim globally, with the confirmed cases across the world soaring to 1,31,50,645 and the death toll reaching 5,74,464 in the 216 affected countries and territories, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO).
Globally, American region continued to be the worst-hit with 68,84,151 confirmed cases and 2,90,674 deaths. Europe came next with 29,64,046 confirmed cases and 2,04,449 deaths. Eastern Mediterranean region reported 13,17,078 confirmed cases and 32,294 deaths.
South-East Asia region’s tally stood at 12,31,014 confirmed cases and 30,570 deaths. African region registered 5,06,124 confirmed cases and 8,650 deaths. Western Pacific region recorded 2,47,491 confirmed cases and 7,814 deaths. WHO Risk Assessment at global level remained very high.
WHO is supporting ongoing vaccination efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic by providing knowledge and assistance to immunization programmes worldwide and helping countries as they balance the threat of COVID-19 with the threat of vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks and related-deaths.
Since the first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Somalia, WHO and key international partners have upgraded the country’s diagnostic capacity. WHO continues to provide budgetary support for hiring staff and strengthening the overall laboratory capacity in Somalia.
WHO has chronicled the work of a doctor, cultural mediator and migrant, Dr Aref Bandary, who has been leading the COVID-19 response in refugee centers in Serbia.
The Director of the WHO Regional Office for the Americas, Dr Carissa F. Etienne, discusses how countries in the Americas are pooling their efforts to ensure access to treatments and vaccines for COVID-19. Under WHO’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, the COVAX facility will negotiate access with the producers of all COVID-19 candidate vaccines that show promising results.
Subject in Focus: COVID-19 Supply Chain System – Progress Update
With the resumption of commercial flights and air travel, WHO, through the COVID-19 Supply Chain System, has reported increased deliveries of critical medical supplies for the COVID-19 response to countries facing the greatest need. These supplies include personal protective equipment (PPE), diagnostics and biomedical equipment.
Personal Protective Equipment
Working with the World Food Programme (WFP), which is running warehouse and transport operations for the COVID-19 Supply Chain System, WHO has increased deliveries of PPE – including medical masks, respirator masks, goggles, face shields, gowns and gloves – from 5.5 million to 50.4 million pieces over the past month.
Moving forward, nearly 201 million pieces of PPE will be shipped to 138 countries across all six WHO regions in the coming weeks. These numbers include 100 million medical masks and 1 million respirator masks donated by the Jack Ma Foundation.
Nearly 20 million pieces of PPE have now been shipped to the Region of the Americas, currently the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. A further 70 million pieces of PPE will be shipped over the coming weeks.
WHO is now prioritizing the shipment of 46.4 million pieces of PPE to 52 countries in Africa over the coming weeks.
Through the diagnostics purchasing consortium, WHO, UNICEF and the Global Fund have procured close to 6 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and 5.2 million sample collection kits from a number of manufacturers to increase testing capacity in countries.
To date, 3.1 million PCR tests and 1.7 sample collection kits have been shipped to 137 countries across all WHO regions.
Approximately US $19 million of bio-medical equipment – comprising 14,000 oxygen concentrators, 9,700 pulse oximeters and 4,700 patient monitors – have been purchased through the Clinical Care Consortium.
Of WHO’s initial purchase of 4,000 oxygen concentrators, 3,950 concentrators have been shipped to 36 countries that have had the greatest difficulty accessing these life-saving supplies for COVID-19 patients in critical condition. An additional 10,000 oxygen concentrators were purchased in June and will be prepared for shipment upon arrival to the WFP warehouse in China.
COVID-19 Supply Portal
Since the launch of the COVID-19 Supply Portal, 81 countries have submitted 351 requests for supplies with a total estimated value of US $ 174.6 million. (eom)