• In today's roundup:
  • Countries limit face mask exports; eased lockdown restrictions for Ramadan; and the head of Greenpeace on this week's World vs Virus podcast.

What is the World Economic Forum doing about the coronavirus outbreak?

Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic requires global cooperation among governments, international organizations and the business community, which is at the centre of the World Economic Forum’s mission as the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

Since its launch on 11 March, the Forum’s COVID Action Platform has brought together 1,667 stakeholders from 1,106 businesses and organizations to mitigate the risk and impact of the unprecedented global health emergency that is COVID-19.

The platform is created with the support of the World Health Organization and is open to all businesses and industry groups, as well as other stakeholders, aiming to integrate and inform joint action.

As an organization, the Forum has a track record of supporting efforts to contain epidemics. In 2017, at our Annual Meeting, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) was launched – bringing together experts from government, business, health, academia and civil society to accelerate the development of vaccines. CEPI is currently supporting the race to develop a vaccine against this strand of the coronavirus.

1. How COVID-19 is affecting the globe

In today’s WHO Africa briefing for COVID-19, Dr Chikwe Ihekweazu, Director General of the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control, explained the difficulties some African countries face in fighting the virus.

“We have to work with what we have,” said Dr Ihekweazu. “We wish we had more laboratories ... care facilities and ventilators, but we simply don’t, and the supply chains for these are fragmented at the moment.”

“This is a long haul for Nigeria,” he added. “It’s going to be a marathon as we face this disease in the complex context of our beautiful country.”

In an article for Agenda this week, Mami Mizutori of the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction explains how we must overhaul our risk reduction strategies to prepare adequately for disasters. Mizutori explained that preparedness efforts don't often account for the fact that several hazards may strike at once or that viruses don't respect the timelines of other disasters.

Preparedness solutions must prioritize aid to the most vulnerable, Mizutori writes: "Most of the world’s poor live in countries where public health infrastructure and services are not fit for purpose at the best of times."

Will people give up on climate change? Jennifer Morgan, the head of Greenpeace, thinks not.

She tells this week's World Vs Virus podcast that the rapid global response to the virus outbreak tells us that listening to the science and understanding what's at stake provides real clarity that can help us tackle big issues.

"And on climate change we know what the problem is. We know the people who are being impacted by it. We know what the solutions are. I think the key is to put the health of people and the planet first. And that's what's happening on COVID-19 and that's what has not yet happened on climate change in many cases."