From Our Bureau                              

12TH AUGUST 2020

The Corona Virus (COVID-19) pandemic situation remained grim globally, with the confirmed cases across the world soaring to 2,01,62,474 and the death toll rising to  7,37,417 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 1,07,99,062 confirmed cases and 3,93,727 deaths. Europe came next with 36,41,603 confirmed cases and 2,17,716 deaths. South-East Asia region’s tally stood at 27,57,822 confirmed cases and 55,564 deaths.

Eastern Mediterranean region reported 16,69,933 confirmed cases and 44,288 deaths. African region registered 9,09,574 confirmed cases and 17,198 deaths. Western Pacific region recorded 3,83,739 confirmed cases and 8,911 deaths. WHO Risk Assessment at global level remained very high.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed over 390,000 people in the Americas, is threatening regional plans to eliminate and control infectious diseases including tuberculosis, HIV, hepatitis and others, WHO Regional Director for the Americas, Dr Carissa F. Etienne said.

The WHO Regional Office for Europe is convening a Pan-European Commission on Health and Sustainable Development. The Commission will draw lessons on how different countries’ health systems have responded to the pandemic and will make recommendations on investments and reforms to improve the resilience of health and social care systems.

WHO and the Iraqi Ministry of Health have launched the second phase of a COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign. Teams will distribute more than 360,000 information, education and communication materials, as well as personal protective equipment to approximately 5 million people.

WHO has published the Emergency Global Supply Chain System (COVID-19) catalogue, which lists all medical devices, including personal protective equipment, medical equipment, medical consumables, single use devices, laboratory and test-related devices that may be requested through the COVID-19 Supply Portal.

Subject in Focus: Progress update on the COVID-19 Supply Chain System

WHO, in collaboration with the UN World Food Programme (WFP), UNICEF and other UN partner agencies, have shipped substantial volumes of essential supplies to 159 countries to support the global COVID-19 response.

Personal Protective Equipment

As of 10th August, WHO has shipped 131 million personal protective equipment (PPE) units to nearly 150 countries across all WHO regions.

Biomedical Equipment

For clinical care, WHO has procured 14,000 oxygen concentrators, 9,720 pulse oximeters, 2,759 basic patient monitors, 1,660 ICU patient monitors, and 681 ventilators. To date, 10,059 oxygen concentrators and 2,000 pulse oximeters have been shipped.


The members of the Diagnostic Consortium – WHO, UNICEF, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Global Fund, the Global Drug Facility and other partners – have procured and shipped 18 million polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests to 83 countries and 4 million sample collection kits to 78 countries.

The considerable demand for automated tests (Abbott, Cepheid, Roche) has exceeded available supplies. Much of this demand will need to be filled by manual PCR tests. Consortium members are continuing to work to secure volumes for automated tests for the period September through to December 2020.

As per the Essential Supplies Forecasting Tool, the total need for the next 12 weeks is estimated at 22.7 million tests.

The Consortium is currently finalizing product selection criteria and will soon be adding additional PCR tests to the Supply Chain catalogue. This should provide countries with more flexibility and choices for procurement. (eom)

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