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News: WHO raises COVID-19 threat assessment to its highest level

03 March 2020

The WHO raised its assessment of the risk of spread and impact of the coronavirus to ‘very high’ at a global level on 28 February as new infections continued to rise sharply outside China.

The latest situation report, available on the right, issued by WHO confirms that Six new Member States (Armenia, Czechia, Dominican Republic, Luxembourg, Iceland, and Indonesia) reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. With close to 1600 new cases reported from outside China on 2 March the WHO Director-General has issued a media briefing where he emphasized that containment of COVID-19 is feasible and must remain the top priority for all countries.

Although we are seeing a fall in the new coronavirus cases in China, the WHO is concerned by global spread. With a high number of cases reported from Republic of Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan we expect that the screening and control measures for shipping and travel will be further tightened in the coming days.

WHO has released a document providing guidance on Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak on board ships. It is recommended to use it in conjunction with the published WHO Handbook for management of public health events on board ships. These are available for download on the right.

The club has also produced guidance to assist it’s members in developing contingency plans for onboard response to the COVID-19, available on the right.