WORLDWIDE HEALTH ALERT - COVID-19 UPDATE

Updated on 18 May 2020


The Situation: As of Monday, 18 May, there are 4,748,356 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide. This data includes 315,822 deaths and 1,747,639 recoveries. A total of 188 countries are reporting confirmed cases. WHO Director-General Ghebreyesus says there is still “a long road to travel” for Covid-19 response as large portions of country populations are still unaffected. Countries around the world beginning to ease lockdowns as daily infections and deaths slow while some are continuing to maintain and/or increase restrictions. 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. Officials say more than half dozen vaccine programs are in the clinical phase and over 80 are in preliminary phase.


Researchers suggest social distancing measures might be necessary into 2022 without an effective treatment or vaccine. Globally, countries – and in the U.S. state governors – begin to outline plans to restart their economies. Public health officials around the world say the only way to keep the death toll from growing quickly is to extend lockdowns.


Below is an example of the virus’ progression from inception to reported numbers:

The U.N. Secretary General: “the pandemic is the world’s biggest challenge since World War II” as a U.N. report estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost worldwide. Experts are saying the number of cases and deaths worldwide are “seriously under-counted” due to mild cases that are missed, lack of testing and governments underplaying the pandemic’s impact.

U.N. World Food Programme warns that global hunger could double and the number of people facing acute food insecurity could hit 265 million in the wake of the pandemic.


Europe

  • Italy allows businesses and churches to reopen after over two months of strict lockdown measures. Restaurants, cafes and bars allowed to serve customers again starting Monday. Death toll on Sunday was 145, the lowest since 9 March, after reporting 153 on Saturday. New cases on Sunday were 675 (a 4 March low), after reporting 875 on Saturday.

  • Spain imposed a two-week quarantine on all overseas travelers last week, it said to avoid a second wave of infections. Only meant to be temporary as the country has plans to reopen borders to tourism in late June. Currently, regions are easing restrictions in phases.

  • St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican reopens to public after being closed for two months.

  • France reports drop in hospitalizations Saturday to Sunday – 19,432 to 19,361 and ICU patients from 2,132 to 2,087. 483 new deaths reported on Sunday bringing total to 28,108.

Eurasia

  • Russia claims that its virus spread is stabilizing, according to top health officials, as Sunday numbers were below 10,000 for a third time in a week.

Asia

  • India reported 5,242 new cases in past 24 hours in its biggest single-day increase, pushing total past 96,000, now the highest in Asia. India extended its nationwide lockdown through 31 May, while giving states more control over details of lockdown and easing some restrictions for sake of economic activity. Authorities blame surge in cases on the hundreds of thousands of migrant workers returning to villages. Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are still battling to control new cases numbers.

  • South Korea reports 15 new cases – 5 locally transmitted, 10 imported. Authorities say that cluster centering around Seoul nightclub district is showing signs of slowing.

  • China reported 7 new cases – 2 in Jilin province, 1 in Shanghai, rest overseas travelers returning in Inner Mongolia.

o Amid concerns over a resurgence of cases the city of Jilin in northeast Jilin province has essentially barred residents from leaving the city after a cluster of infections was discovered in Jilin and close by Shulan. 700 contacts of current patients have been identified for testing and quarantine. Neighboring Liaoning province has identified over 1,000 contacts and another 6,500 at high risk for infection. Officials from Liaoning announced on Saturday that anyone with travel history to the city of Jilin since 22 April would be quarantined in hospital for 3 weeks and that anyone currently in isolation at home needed to move to a quarantine center.


Middle East

  • Iran, on Sunday, reported almost 7,000 deaths total after 51 reported. Warnings of new clusters emerging after easing lockdown measures. Southwest province of Khuzestan is in “a critical situation” and authorities have re-imposed business lockdowns.

  • Yemen’s Saudi-backed government accuses Houthis – who control large population centers – of covering up outbreaks in areas they hold. Yemen has reported 128 cases and 20 deaths. Houthi’s have reported only 4 cases and one death.

  • 3 March: WHO’s regional director for the eastern Mediterranean calls for countries in the region to “be more aggressive” in testing and tracing efforts

Africa

  • Zimbabwe extends lockdown “indefinitely”.

  • 17 April: WHO Africa – a tentative projection shows that cases in Africa could hit as many as 10 million in 3-6 months.


Oceania

  • Australia – about 150 protesters rallied outside Victoria’s state parliament in Melbourne claiming coronavirus outbreak was a government-engineered conspiracy with purpose of controlling the population. 10 were arrested and one police officer was injured.

o New South Wales to start easing lockdown 15 May. The state was Australia’s hardest hit with 45% of all cases and deaths.

South/Central America

  • Honduras extends blanket curfew a week, through 24 May.

  • Brazil president Bolsonaro continues to ignore social distancing advise, seen Sunday taking selfies with children from crowd of supporters. Meanwhile, health ministry reported Sunday night 7,938 new cases and 485 new deaths, pushing totals to 241,000 and 16,118 respectively. Brazil is 5th in the world for confirmed cases, behind the U.S., Russia, Spain and very close to the U.K.

  • Mexico has one of the lowest testing rates in Latin America. As of 11 May the rate was 89 tests per 100,000 people according to health ministry data. U.S. testing rate is 32 times higher. Peru and Chile’s are 14 times higher and Brazil is 3 times higher.

o Mexico’s government strategy is to only test those showing severe symptoms, calling mass testing an “inefficient” assessment strategy. Officials there believe peak will be around 20 May, though some models show peaks in June.

o Mexico is planning to begin reopening starting 1 June with essential industries stuck as car parts manufacturing and construction.

o Government authorities have long acknowledged that many deaths have gone uncounted in the Covid-19 tally because they have not been confirmed by testing.

  • UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an investigation into a prison riot in western Venezuela that left 75 injured and 46 dead. Incident happened Friday at the Los Llanos penitentiary in Portuguesa state and occurred shortly after prison officials barred family members from bringing food to prisoners.

  • Unrest in prisons over conditions have been reported in several countries across Latin America. 23 were killed in a prison riot in Colombia last month.

  • 24 March: At least 44 attacks against medical workers have been reported in Mexico since mid-March. Mexico is reporting 11,633 confirmed cases and 1,069 deaths.

Canada

  • Canada is seeking to extend border lockdown as the U.S. begins re-opening. Aiming for extension through 21 June.

  • 20 April: Canada says border restrictions with U.S. will remain in place for some time as both countries battle the virus.

U.S.

  • U.S. cases rose to 1,490,195 confirmed cases, 89,636 total deaths and 272,265 recovered.

  • 21 April: U.S. CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield, warns a second wave of coronavirus during next fall/winter’s flu season could be deadly and states should start preparing now.

  • On April 16, US President Trump’s guidelines for moving out of stay-at-home restrictions suggests that states start reopening businesses, restaurants and others by 1 May or earlier as governors deem appropriate for their state.

  • On April 14, President Trump announced a temporary halt in funding to the World Health Organization until a review can be conducted on the WHO’s initial handling of COVID-19 in China.

  • Federal stay-at-home measures and social distancing guidelines were extended through 30 April.

  • Dr. Fauci says it would “not be surprising” to see 100,000 deaths in U.S. from the coronavirus. High end projections put number of U.S. deaths at around 200,000.


Please note changes to the following chart: Numbers in (..) reflect ranking of country in the previous report on 11 May for comparison. New countries to reach the top 25 and data are in red. New numbers are in red and numbers from last report are in black.


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.

  • 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.

  • Current CDC Travel Alerts for Covid-19:

o Level 3 – Avoid all nonessential travel – Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice – Widespread Ongoing Transmission - LINK

o See LINK for all current travel alerts by country


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

  • Chills sometimes with repeated shaking

  • Headache

  • Muscle aches or pain

  • Diarrhea, nausea, and/or vomiting

  • Loss of smell and/or taste (uncommon)

  • Confusion, stroke-like symptoms, and/or seizures (rare)

  • 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

  • Some airlines and airports may require use of a mask at the facility and while aboard the aircraft. Confirm with your airline current policies in place.

  • 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


Affected Travelers and others:

All travelers have the potential for exposure


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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