|Leadership: Crisis Management of COVID-19 (Special Edition)|
COVID-19 is an infectious disease caused by a novel (or new) strain of coronavirus, a severe acute respiratory syndrome. Common symptoms include fever, cough, fatigue, shortness of breath, and loss of smell and taste. The time from exposure to onset of symptoms is typically around five days but may range from two to fourteen days. COVID is an acronym: “CO” stands for corona, “VI” for virus, and “D” for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as the “2019 novel coronavirus” or “2019-nCoV.”
In This ReportManaging the COVID-19 crisis has become the most significant issue in the world. This special report seeks to capture global best practices, specifically from countries that have achieved some success in their approach to managing the crisis. The report is organised into five key aspects of civil society, and focuses primarily on how various governments and the WHO have tackled – and, indeed, are still tackling – both the pandemic and its effects.
Overview of COVID-19COVID-19 was first reported to the World Health Organization (WHO) Country Office in China on December 31, 2019. The virus was first identified in Wuhan and has since spread globally; the first case can be traced back to November 17, 2019. The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on January 30, 2020, and was subsequently declared a global pandemic on March 11, 2020, as the coronavirus spread rapidly around the world.
As of June 6, 2020, more than 6.6 million cases have been reported across 188 countries and territories, resulting in more than 388,000 deaths. More than 3.18 million people have recovered.
The virus is primarily spread between people during close contact, most often by small droplets that are produced by coughing, sneezing or talking. Less commonly, people can become infected after touching a contaminated surface and then touching their face. It is most contagious in the first three days after symptoms appear; however, spread is possible before symptoms appear, and from people who are asymptomatic (i.e. who do not appear to have, and may not develop, any symptoms).
The most effective way of avoiding the virus is by taking preventive measures. These include frequent hand washing with soap or alcohol-based sanitiser (for a minimum of 20 seconds); maintaining physical distance from others; quarantine or self-isolation; coughing and sneezing into a sleeve; and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth. The use of a face mask is recommended for those who suspect they have the virus. Some authorities recommend all people should wear a face mask in public, while others believe it is not needed.
The WHO is working around the clock to analyse available data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks. Many countries, as well as pharmaceutical companies, research labs, and universities are working to create a vaccine or a treatment for the virus. However, as of June 6, 2020, the WHO states there are no available vaccines or universally accepted antiviral treatments for COVID-19.
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