• This daily roundup brings you a selection of the latest news updates on the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, as well as tips and tools to help you stay informed and protected.
  • Today's top stories: Global confirmed coronavirus cases surpass 4 million; the UK is set to launch a new warning system for the virus, while outlining a plan to ease restrictions; the R number explained; and how the Fourth Industrial Revolution can help tackle COVID-19.

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

R refers to the “effective reproduction number” and is essentially a means of measuring an infectious disease’s capacity to spread. The R number signifies the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus to.

The R number isn’t fixed, but can be affected by a range of factors, including not just how infectious a disease is but how it develops over time, how a population behaves and any immunity already possessed thanks to infection or vaccination.

R refers to the “effective reproduction number” and is essentially a means of measuring an infectious disease’s capacity to spread.
R refers to the “effective reproduction number” and is essentially a means of measuring an infectious disease’s capacity to spread.
Image: BBC

China and South Korea are just a couple of the countries using Big Data, AI and other emerging technologies to manage the effects and mitigate the risks of COVID-19, according to David Alexander Walcott, a World Economic Forum Global Shaper.

"Our ability to create a dynamic and interconnected framework of health data has never been more necessary," he wrote in a recent blog post for the Forum.

Drone company Zipline has pioneered medical deliveries to rural communities in Rwanda and Ghana. Its lightweight drones deliver vital packages to clinics up to 85 kilometres away. Trips that might have taken an entire day by car could take 30 minutes or less by drone.

Now the company is using its drone deliveries to support the coronavirus fight in Africa and aims to do the same in the US.