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News: Coronavirus update - no new countries have reported cases of COVID-19 since 22 February 2020

24 February 2020

Worldwide

The World Health Organisation’s (WHO) last report dated 23 February 2020 advised that no new countries had reported cases of COVID-19 since Lebanon and Israel on 22 February 2020. COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by coronavirus. Whilst more people are reported to have died from the disease in the last 48 hours, these were existing cases.

The WHO’s strategic objectives for the response to the outbreak are to:

• Limit human-to-human transmission including reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers, preventing transmission amplification events, and preventing further international spread from China;

• Identify, isolate and care for patients early, including providing optimized care for infected patients;

• Identify and reduce transmission from the animal source;

• Address crucial unknowns regarding clinical severity, extent of transmission and infection, treatment options, and accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines;

• Communicate critical risk and event information to all communities and counter misinformation;

• Minimize social and economic impact through multisectoral partnerships.

The WHO has published technical guidance on infection prevention and control that can be read here.

UK

UK Chief Medical Officers have identified advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111.

This mirrors the advice of the WHO which advises that:

  • all suspected 2019-nCoV patients with severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) be triaged at first point of contact with health care system and emergency treatment started based on disease severity; and
  • those suspected 2019-nCoV patients presenting with mild symptoms may not need to be hospitalised unless there is a concern for rapid deterioration, but their movement should be limited and shared space minimised.

Members should remain vigilant and we also recommend members to check with their local agents and/or authorities and/or club correspondents in any particular port, to ensure that the notification and health and safety requirements of a particular port are complied with, to avoid potentially significant complications or delays on arrival. Members should feel free to contact their Club contact in case they need any assistance.