Worldwide Health Alert – COVID-19 Update

Updated on 27 March 2020


The Situation:

As of Friday, 27 March, there are over 551,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide – more than 113,000 cases than Wednesday. This data includes 24,906 deaths and 127,564 recoveries. A total of 176 countries are reporting confirmed cases – four more than Wednesday. World leaders continue to plead with the public to heed instructions for social distancing as many countries face (or surpass) critical capacity points of their healthcare systems and implement country-wide quarantine measures and lockdowns.


Vaccine trials are under way in the U.S., Europe and China, but will take 12-18 months to be fully developed and released to the public.


The CDC issued new Travel Alerts for Argentina, Panama and Russia all Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. See link below.



Europe

  • Spain saw 769 deaths in past 24 hours – the highest one day death toll so far. Heath officials are also seeing a steady increase in number of recoveries as well, holding out hope that they could be close to their peak.

  • U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson tested positive for the virus, but will continue to work from self-isolation.

  • Hungary imposed a two-week lockdown.

  • Russia reported its biggest one-day jump with 196 cases, including a member of President Putin’s administrative staff. Russians were urged to stay home, but PM Mishustin says tough measures are needed.

  • France cases surged and the Prime Minister warned of “difficult” days ahead.


Asia/ Southeast Asia

  • Hong Kong cases more than doubled this week.

  • China banned all foreigners, including those with valid visas & residence permits starting on midnight Friday. They are also reducing international flights and limiting the capacity on board to 75%. Restrictions come after consistent daily imported cases: Wednesday – 67, Thursday – 55, Friday – 54 + 1 domestic case.

  • Malaysia reported 130 new cases; a total of 2,161 – the highest in Southeast Asia.

  • Indonesia reported its highest daily rise in new cases with 153 pushing total to 1,046 – moving closer to implementing a lockdown.

  • Tokyo residents stock up ahead of lockdown through 12 April. Tokyo reported a record number of new cases Thursday with 47 cases, total up to 259 in the city.


Middle East

  • Iraq extended the nationwide curfew, due to end Saturday, for another two weeks.

  • Lebanon also extended its lockdown another two weeks.

  • Iran reported another surge in cases over past 24 hours, including 144 deaths which pushed total number of deaths over 2,300.

  • Oman, UAE and Jordan suspended printed newspapers over fears that they could spread the virus.

  • Israel plans to deploy the army to assist police in patrolling streets during lockdown.


Africa

  • South Africa goes into 3-week lockdown which began 27 March at midnight. The country reported its first two deaths.


U.S.

U.S. cases pushed past China’s with 86,012 confirmed cases and 1,301 total deaths. More states and local governments are implementing ‘shelter-in-place’ orders and other restrictions in efforts to slow the spread of the virus.


White House officials warned anyone who has come from or passed through New York City recently to self-quarantine for 14 days. The city is the epicenter in the U.S., though there are reports that New Orleans could be the next epicenter.


Other significant factors for consideration:

  • Experts estimated the actual number of cases could be much higher than what is being officially recorded and reported. If that is true, the mortality rate could be much lower.

  • Men were also disproportionately affected during MERS and SARS outbreaks.

  • Women, in general, have a stronger immune response than men.

  • China accounts for nearly a third of the world’s smokers with more than half of the men smoking compared to just over 2% of China’s women smoking.


Travel Effects:

  • Many countries have urged citizens to reconsider travel or avoid nonessential travel to China and avoid all travel to Hubei.

  • Airlines around the world suspended services to all or some of China and other hot spots around the globe.

  • Several countries banned foreigners who recently traveled to China and/or are Chinese passport holders and increased health screening measure at ports of entry

  • Specialized quarantines based on needs per country.

  • Travel Ban on Europe – to take affect Friday, March 13 at midnight, no travel from Schengen Area countries.

  • From DHS: These countries, known as the Schengen Area, include: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. This does not apply to legal permanent residents, (generally) immediate family members of U.S. citizens, and other individuals who are identified in the proclamation. LINK

  • Updated 19 March - Department of State – Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel

  • The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

  • In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.

  • U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice.

  • Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

  • On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification. These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

  • Department of State – Information for Travelers - LINK

  • Includes advise for U.S. citizens that are currently abroad with specific information for those in China, Europe and on cruise ships.


Covid-19 virus related emergency numbers:

  • From U.S. or Canada: 1-888-407-4747

  • From Overseas: +1 202-501-4444

  • Enroll in STEP - LINK


Current CDC Travel Alerts for Covid-19:

  • Level 3 – Avoid all nonessential travel – see LINK for all current travel alerts

  • Argentina

  • Australia

  • Brazil

  • Canada

  • Chile

  • China

  • Cruise Ship

  • Ecuador

  • Europe

  • India

  • Indonesia

  • Italy

  • Iran

  • Israel

  • Japan

  • Malaysia

  • Pakistan

  • Panama

  • Philippines

  • Qatar

  • Romania

  • Russia

  • Singapore

  • Saudi Arabia

  • South Africa

  • South Korea

  • Thailand

  • Turkey

  • UK & Ireland


Level 2 – Practice Enhanced Precautions



Symptoms to Watch Out For:

Officials say the respiratory disease, is capable of spreading through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing, and germs left on inanimate objects. The virus might spread during the incubation period – which is believed to be from 1 to 14 days. Be on the lookout for the following symptoms:

  • High fever

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Cough (usually dry) and/or sore throat

  • Fatigue

  • Muscle Aches in some cases also being reported

  • Pneumonia (secondary infection)


Mitigating Measures to Apply:

  • Monitor local authorities for updates

  • Avoid travel to or through China (including layovers) and specifically through Wuhan and Hubei province, Northern Italy, South Korea, certain areas in the United States and other notable hotspots where transmission is high or on the rise across the globe.

  • Avoid non-essential travel to areas where the infection is known or spreading rapidly

  • Travelers who return from infected areas should self-quarantine

  • Practice social distancing at the workplace and in public spaces

  • Consider work from home arrangements for employees in locations where the virus is spreading or if employees must transit through those areas

  • Employees who feel ill or who have flu-like, respiratory or other symptoms should consider self-quarantine and or stay at home instead of attending office or other functions

  • Weigh the risks of conducting large scale gatherings where the virus is located and the potential for attendees to transit through higher risk areas

  • Large scale gatherings should be avoided

  • Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat)

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water isn’t available

  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues may be at higher risk and should speak to their healthcare provider before travel

  • Avoid exposure to those presenting the above symptoms

  • Avoid populated areas and gatherings if you feel ill (if at all possible)

  • Allow extra time for temperature screening at airports worldwide

  • Enroll in a Safe Traveler Program to receive warnings from your preferred embassy

  • Seek medical care immediately if you experience symptoms and have recently traveled to the infected areas; notify your healthcare provider of your recent travel

  • Confirm travel schedule is not impacted by the coronavirus (including quarantines, which may be individually-imposed, visit/visa restrictions, entry/exit requirements and restrictions, etc.)

  • Ensure the validity of all visas prior to travel as this could be subject to restrictions and changes


DISCLAIMER and Hold Harmless

Disclaimer: LSDS™ gathers information from multiple sources and offers insight and perspective to travelers. Sources cannot be validated for accuracy in every instance. Travelers assume all risk associated with their travel and are responsible for the decisions associated with travel and for their own safety. Users of this reference document agree, to hold harmless LSDS™ (LLC) its employees and clients associated with any risk or injury incurred during travel.

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