COVID-19: What you need to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 7 April

Students pose for a graduate picture after they picked up their doctor's titles at El Salvador National University (UES) as the graduation ceremony was suspended during a quarantine throughout the country, as the government undertakes steadily stricter measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in San Salvador, El Salvador April 6, 2020.
Students pose for a graduate picture after they picked up their doctor's titles at El Salvador National University (UES)
Image: REUTERS/Jose Cabezas
  • In this daily round-up, we'll bring you a selection of the latest news updates on the coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's big stories include: how lockdowns can end safely and how to look after someone with coronavirus.

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 impacting the globe

  • There are more than 1.3 million confirmed cases of infection of the COVID-19 coronavirus worldwide as of 7 April, with more than 73,000 confirmed deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 285,000 people have reportedly recovered from the disease.
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was moved to intensive care as his COVID-19 symptoms worsened.
  • Confirmed deaths in the New York region have shown signs of levelling off.

At Monday's World Health Organization (WHO) briefing, Michael J. Ryan, Chief Executive Director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, explained that a strategic "calibrated, step-wise approach" will be the safest and most effective way to ease lockdown restrictions. Countries will need to examine statistics such as their hospital bed capacity, their doubling rate; the number of contacts generated per infected case; and the positivity rate.

Once those key questions are answered, countries must put elements in place for a transition. "Once you raise the lockdown, you have to have an alternative method to suppress the infection," said Ryan. "The way to do that is active case finding, testing, isolation of cases, tracking of contacts, quarantining of contacts."

Virologist Guido Vanham explained recently why lockdown restrictions won't end soon for many of those currently under stay-at-home orders. He said we need to be looking at both "active" cases and "severe or critical" cases to make any assessment about easing such limitations.

"Those are the people in the hospitals needing intensive care, and their number is still increasing significantly. As long as they are going up, hospitals are over capacity, and we shouldn't expect measures to be relaxed: it would mean risking many more deaths."

The pandemic is on track to exacerbate the vulnerabilities of some of the 272 million international migrants worldwide. Migrants’ socioeconomic status may negatively impact their ability to take precautionary measures against COVID-19 and to receive medical care if contaminated.

From China to South Africa, calls are being made for inclusive COVID-19 responses to ensure migrants are incorporated into public health strategies and planning around the world.

Caring for a COVID-19 patient at home has become more common as hospitals become overwhelmed with cases. According the to WHO, caregivers should avoid using shared spaces, linens or dishes wherever possible, while bathrooms and kitchens should be well ventilated. The WHO says both the ill person and the caregiver should wear medical masks.

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