Emergencies – Ebola

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 84: 17 March 2020
[Excerpts]
Situation Update
There have been no new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) reported since 17 February 2020. On 3 March 2020, the only person confirmed to have EVD in the last 21 days (Figure 1) was discharged from an Ebola Treatment Centre after recovering and testing negative twice for the virus. On 9 March, the last 46 contacts finished their follow-up. These are important milestones in the outbreak. However, there is still a high risk of re-emergence of EVD, and a critical need to maintain response operations to rapidly detect and respond to any new cases, to prioritize ongoing support and health monitoring for survivors – as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria for declaring the end of the EVD outbreak….

…Conclusion
Given the long duration and large magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is a high risk of re-emergence of the virus during the lead up to the declaration of the end of the outbreak, and for several months following that declaration. These risks are exacerbated by potential limitations (e.g. shortages funding, access to communities, competing health emergencies) imposed on the response. To mitigate the risk of re-emergence, it is critical to maintain surveillance and rapid response capacities, and to prioritize survivor care and the maintenance of cooperative relationships with survivors’ associations during and well beyond the 42 days lead up to the end of outbreak declaration.

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Emergencies :: Polio – WHO – OCHA

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 18 March 2020
:: The COVID -19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and an urgent global effort. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), with thousands of polio workers, and an extensive laboratory and surveillance network, has a moral imperative to ensure that these resources are used to support countries in their preparedness and response. [See below]

Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Pakistan: five WPV1 cases, three WPV1 positive environmental samples and 13 cVDPV2 cases
:: Angola: one cVDPV2 case
:: Chad: two cVDPV2 cases
:: Côte d’Ivoire: one cVDPV2 case and one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Malaysia: one cVDPV1 case

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GPEI statement on COVID-19
A moral imperative to stand together
18/03/2020
The COVID -19 pandemic response requires worldwide solidarity and an urgent global effort. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI), with thousands of polio workers, and an extensive laboratory and surveillance network, has a moral imperative to ensure that these resources are used to support countries in their preparedness and response.

In Nigeria, Pakistan and Afghanistan, where polio personnel and assets have a significant footprint, workers from all GPEI partners are pitching in with COVID-19 surveillance, health worker training, contact tracing, risk communications and more. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a core GPEI partner, has deployed Stop Transmission of Polio programme (STOP) volunteers already working on polio eradication in 13 countries, to COVID-19 preparations and response.

We recognise that the COVID-19 emergency means that some aspects of polio eradication programme will be affected. GPEI is currently finalising operational guidelines and contingency plans for the polio eradication programme to determine what assets can be deployed to COVID-19 preparedness and response and to identify which critical activities must continue if polio eradication is not to lose ground.  We will continue to communicate on plans as they evolve.

In solidarity with the most vulnerable, the polio programme will share its assets to ensure this new epidemic is defeated as quickly as possible. Our commitment to eradication is firm; our commitment to stand together against COVID-19 is now.

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 21 Mar 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 84: 17 March 2020
[See Ebola above for detail]

Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 21 Mar 2020]
Iraq
:: WHO technical mission visits Iraq to step up COVID-19 detection and response activities
Baghdad, Iraq, 15 March 2020 – A high-level technical mission from the World Health Organization (WHO) concluded a visit to Iraq to support the Iraqi Ministry of Health response to COVID-19 prevention and containment measures.

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 21 Mar 2020]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth
14 Mar 2020
Mozambique: One year after Cyclone Idai, humanitarian assistance is still urgent

EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified

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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 14 March 2020 :: Number 308

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 14 Mar 2020

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Migration

Open Letter by 152 Organisations: Protect our laws and humanity
The undersigned organisations are deeply concerned about recent developments at the Evros border and the Aegean islands where people are stranded at the borders of Europe.
09.03.20
To:
Prime Minister of the Hellenic Republic, Kyriakos Mitsotakis
President of the European Parliament, David Sassoli
President of the European Council, Charles Michel
President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen

Athens, 6 March 2020 – The undersigned organisations are deeply concerned about recent developments at the Evros border and the Aegean islands where people are stranded at the borders of Europe, instrumentalized for political purposes, and subject to violations of their rights. We are also deeply concerned about the way the authorities of Greece and the European Union are handling new arrivals. Equally alarming are the extreme actions by security forces against refugees and by civilians against staff of human rights and humanitarian organizations. We would also like to point out that the climate of panic and rhetoric of ‘asymmetric threat’ –also promoted by the authorities– does not reflect reality and seriously affects not only vulnerable refugees- but also our society and the rule of law as a whole.

Specifically:
We firmly express our opposition to the recent decisions of the Greek Governmental Council on Foreign Affairs and Defense (KYSEA), and in particular the adoption of the Emergency Legislative Decree, which stipulates the suspension of the right to seek asylum for all people entering the country and their return without registration, to their countries of origin or transit. Applying such a regulatory provision is inhumane and illegal as it violates the fundamental principle of non-refoulement, incurs international responsibilities for Greece and endangers human lives. It is beyond dispute that Greece has the sovereign competence to control its borders and to manage any crossings there. Nevertheless, the right to seek asylum is a fundamental human right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

We also denounce the attacks on organizations that defend human rights and humanitarian organizations, noting that without the support of these organizations, the refugee management system in Greece would collapse. In addition, solidarity has been stigmatized and become the target of suspicion, which has been also exacerbated by members of the Government, fomenting violence and lawlessness in society in general. We denounce any statements, actions or policies that foment or tolerate bigotry.

We call upon the Greek Government to:
:: Withdraw the illegal and unconstitutional Emergency Legislative Decree and to respect the obligations of the Greek State concerning the protection of human life and rescue at sea and at the land borders.

:: Immediately stop returning people to states where their lives and freedom are at risk, or where they are at risk of being subjected to torture or other inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

:: Immediately alleviate overcrowding on the islands by relocating asylum seekers to the mainland, protecting their well-being and health. Priority should be given to the most vulnerable, unaccompanied minors and families with children.

:: Take the necessary measures to protect every person from acts of violence, victimization and racism.

We recall that the EU should assume substantial responsibilities for the protection of people on the move in a manner that demonstrates respect for human dignity and lawfulness and as a matter of shared responsibility among EU member states in the context of managing what is, first and foremost, a European issue. The right to asylum and the respect for the principle of non-refoulement are fundamental elements of international and EU law and therefore the authorities of the European Union must take the necessary measures for their protection.

Therefore:
:: The European Commission, as the guardian of the Treaties, should protect the right to asylum as enshrined in EU law. Therefore, it should reverse the “aspida (shield)” rhetoric used by Greece and urge it to assume its legal obligations.

:: EU Member States should re-establish immediately the mechanisms for the relocation of refugees and asylum seekers from Greece to other Member States, in a fair and rational manner, with priority given to unaccompanied children. EU Member States should increase resettlement of refugees directly from Turkey.

:: EU Member States and institutions should revise the EU-Turkey Statement, which –in addition to legal lacunae– has now proven to be an unpredictable and unsustainable political tool for border management.

In closing, we call on all sides to respect the law and safeguard European democratic values. Any further backsliding will have major consequences on European societies, European democracy and the rule of law.

United States AID and Customs and Border Protection Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Address Illegal Immigration

United States Agency for International Development and United States Customs and Border Protection Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Address Illegal Immigration
March 13, 2020
Agreement will enable USAID to use apprehension data to better target programming in Central America to populations most likely to attempt to migrate illegally to the United States
On March 12, 2020, United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Assistant Administrator for Latin America and the Caribbean John D. Barsa signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Robert E. Perez, Deputy Commissioner for United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). As part of the Trump Administration’s strategy to advance U.S. national security and prosperity, this new agreement will enable USAID to use apprehension data collected by DHS/CBP to target foreign-assistance programs within Central America to focus on curbing illegal immigration to the United States. Using this information, including de-identified data on migrants’ country of citizenship, place of birth, city and country of permanent residence, age, and sex, USAID will be better-equipped to design its programming for the specific areas from which people are attempting to immigrate illegally to the United States. USAID will not share information on its beneficiaries with DHS/CBP under this MOU.

Celo Foundation Announces Alliance for Prosperity to Build Financial Tools for 5.6B Smartphone Owners

Financial Empowerment – Blockchain

Celo Foundation Announces Alliance for Prosperity to Build Financial Tools for 5.6B Smartphone Owners
Grameen Foundation, Mercy Corps, and Andreessen Horowitz among 50 initial member organizations of decentralized, global ecosystem

San Francisco, CA (March 11, 2020) — The Celo Foundation, a nonprofit supporting the development of the Celo open blockchain platform, today announced the launch of the Alliance for Prosperity: a mission-aligned network of organizations fostering social impact and financial inclusion through the use of blockchain technology. As part of these efforts, Alliance Members, which include leading technology providers, nonprofits, mobile wallets, payment processors, and global investment firms, will build mobile-friendly financial tools on top of the Celo open blockchain platform. The Alliance’s goal is to enable more people to use digital currencies — empowering anyone with a phone number towards a prosperous future.

Made up of 50 initial members with a combined global reach of hundreds of millions of people, including Andreessen Horowitz, the Grameen Foundation, GiveDirectly, Mercy Corps, and a variety of organizations around the globe, the Alliance will focus on a range of social impact use cases, including powering mobile and online work, enabling faster and affordable remittances, reducing the operational complexities of delivering humanitarian aid, facilitating payments, and enabling microlending. While each member’s contributions will be unique, their combined efforts will leverage the benefits of blockchain technology to make it easier to move digital currencies across borders and create accessible financial tools for the 5.6 billion smartphones around the world.

In celebration of the launch and in demonstration of its commitment to financial inclusion, the Alliance will be awarding small bounties, #ProsperityGifts, to qualified applicants anywhere in the world, who share great ideas to positively impact their local communities. With these efforts, the Alliance will deepen its commitment to make a meaningful impact through prosperity.

“We believe the only way to solve some of the world’s toughest problems is by bringing together diverse and mission-aligned organizations to create a future where everyone can share prosperity,” said Rene Reinsberg, founder of Celo. “The Alliance will use blockchain technology to reimagine the future of money and create inclusive financial tools. From sending money home across borders to donating to a humanitarian organization, we want to make sure that money arrives in the right hands — not in the pockets of a middleman.”

Celo is an open blockchain platform that makes financial tools accessible to anyone with a mobile phone. It can be leveraged to build an ecosystem of powerful mobile applications, ranging from easier cash transfer programs to peer-to-peer lending, international remittances to digital assets and wallets. Celo’s digital currency — the Celo Dollar stablecoin — provides people all over the world with a stable, secure, inexpensive and easy way to move money and engage in financial activities that were previously inaccessible to them.

“Grameen Foundation envisions a world with universal access to financial services,” said Gigi Gatti, Director of Technology for Development at Grameen Foundation. “We are committed to unlock financial inclusion barriers to reduce poverty and open economic opportunities for everyone. The Alliance for Prosperity gives us a fresh chance to build, interoperate, secure new financial services applications — it’s about time to cut the cost of bringing financial services to those who need it most.”

The Alliance is continually growing and comprises members across a range of industries, including blockchain and cryptocurrency, finance, venture capital, international remittances, payments, charity and philanthropy, telecommunications and education. The following organizations currently make up the Alliance: Abra, Alice, AlphaWallet, Anchorage, Appen, Ayannah, A16Z, B12, BC4NB (Blockchain for the Next Billion), BeamAndGo, Bidali, Bison Trails, Blockchain Academy Mexico, Blockchain.com, Blockchain for Humanity (b4h), Blockchain for Social Impact (BSIC), Blockdaemon, Carbon, cLabs, CloudWalk Inc, Cobru, Coinbase, Coinplug, Cryptio, Cryptobuyer, CryptoSavannah, eSolidar, Fintech4Good, Flexa, Gitcoin, GiveDirectly, Grameen Foundation, GSMA, KeshoLabs, Laboratoria, Ledn, Maple, Mercy Corps, Metadium, Moon, MoonPay, Pipol, Pngme, Polychain, Project Wren, SaldoMX, Semicolon Africa, The Giving Block, Utrust, Upright, Yellow Card, and 88i.

To learn more, please visit celo.org/alliance.

Modern slavery and public health: a rapid evidence assessment and an emergent public health approach

Featured Journal Content – Slavery/Public Health

Public Health
Volume 180 Pages 1-196 (March 2020)
https://www.sciencedirect.com/journal/public-health/vol/180/suppl/C
Research article Abstract only
Modern slavery and public health: a rapid evidence assessment and an emergent public health approach
E. Such, C. Laurent, R. Jaipaul, S. Salway
Pages 168-179
Highlights
:: Modern slavery as a public health issue is at an early stage of development.
:: There is a strong ethical case for public health engagement.
:: A public health approach includes upstream prevention measures as well as victim-centred services.
: A holistic framework includes global-, national-, local- and service-level interventions.
Abstract
Objectives
Modern slavery is a human rights violation and a global public health concern. To date, criminal justice approaches have dominated attempts to address it. Modern slavery has severe consequences for people’s mental and physical health, and there is a pressing need to identify and implement effective preventative measures. As such, a public health approach to modern slavery requires elucidation. The objectives of this study were to explore the case for public health involvement in addressing modern slavery and the components of a public health approach and to develop a globally relevant framework for public health action.

Heritage and waste: – demolition and disasters

Featured Journal Content – Heritage

Journal of Cultural Heritage Management and Sustainable Development
2020 Volume 10 Issue 1
https://www.emerald.com/insight/publication/issn/2044-1266/vol/9/iss/4
Special Issue: Heritage and waste values
Table Of Contents
Heritage and waste: introduction
Susan Ross, Victoria Angel
Contexts
Given the magnitude of waste generated by demolition and disasters, and concerns about resource depletion and landfill, increasing attention is being paid in research and policy to partial or complete deconstruction, and to methods for salvage and design based on the reuse of reclaimed materials. Waste, deconstruction and material reuse are also being considered in the context of environmental studies, industrial ecology, and cultural theory. The field of heritage conservation has, however, been slow to engage in an equivalent reflection on material waste or reuse. This is despite the frequently considerable quantity of discarded materials that may be generated as part not only of inescapable demolition but of any given conservation project…

This collection of articles draws attention to a growing interest in the transformative contexts and processes of disaster, demolition, deconstruction, salvage, reuse and recycling; and the broad range of values of the materials generated and or utilized. It makes the case that heritage conservation can play a much greater role than it has to date in environmental sustainability, by helping to reduce resource consumption and landfill development. Moreover, it highlights opportunities to plan for material reuse in ways that are inclusive and socially equitable…

Tracking human population structure through time from whole genome sequences

PLoS Genetics
https://journals.plos.org/plosgenetics/
(Accessed 14 Mar 2020)

Research Article
Tracking human population structure through time from whole genome sequences
Ke Wang, Iain Mathieson, Jared O’Connell, Stephan Schiffels
| published 09 Mar 2020 PLOS Genetics
https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1008552
Abstract
The genetic diversity of humans, like many species, has been shaped by a complex pattern of population separations followed by isolation and subsequent admixture. This pattern, reaching at least as far back as the appearance of our species in the paleontological record, has left its traces in our genomes. Reconstructing a population’s history from these traces is a challenging problem. Here we present a novel approach based on the Multiple Sequentially Markovian Coalescent (MSMC) to analyze the separation history between populations. Our approach, called MSMC-IM, uses an improved implementation of the MSMC (MSMC2) to estimate coalescence rates within and across pairs of populations, and then fits a continuous Isolation-Migration model to these rates to obtain a time-dependent estimate of gene flow. We show, using simulations, that our method can identify complex demographic scenarios involving post-split admixture or archaic introgression. We apply MSMC-IM to whole genome sequences from 15 worldwide populations, tracking the process of human genetic diversification. We detect traces of extremely deep ancestry between some African populations, with around 1% of ancestry dating to divergences older than a million years ago.
Author summary
Human demographic history is reflected in specific patterns of shared mutations between the genomes from different populations. Here we aim to unravel this pattern to infer population structure through time with a new approach, called MSMC-IM. Based on estimates of coalescence rates within and across populations, MSMC-IM fits a time-dependent migration model to the pairwise rate of coalescences. We implemented this approach as an extension to existing software (MSMC2), and tested it with simulations exhibiting different histories of admixture and gene flow. We then applied it to the genomes from 15 worldwide populations to reveal their pairwise separation history ranging from a few thousand up to several million years ago. Among other results, we find evidence for remarkably deep population structure in some African population pairs, suggesting that deep ancestry dating to one million years ago and older is still present in human populations in small amounts today.

EMERGENCIES – Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Editor’s Note:
We certainly recognize the velocity of global developments in the COVID-19 pandemic. While we have concentrated the most current key reports just below, COVID-19 announcements, analysis and commentary will be found throughout this issue, in all sections.
Beyond the considerable continuing coverage in the global general media:
:: Daily WHO situation reports here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
:: WHO Coronavirus disease (COVID-2019) daily press briefings here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/media-resources/press-briefings

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Situation report – 53 [WHO]
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
13 March 2020
[Excerpts]
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Globally :: 132,0 758 confirmed [7499 new]
China :: 80,991 confirmed [11 new]
:: 3,180 deaths [07 new]
Outside of China
:: 51,767 confirmed [7488 new]
:: 122 countries/territories/areas [5 new]
:: 1775 deaths [335 new]

WHO RISK ASSESSMENT
China – Very High
Regional Level – Very High
Global Level – Very High

HIGHLIGHTS
:: Five new countries/territories/areas (Jersey, Réunion, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Cuba and Guyana) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.

:: The WHO, UN Foundation and partners launched a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund today. The fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the WHO and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

:: Since the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) has been a major factor in preventive and mitigation measures. To ensure evidence-based quality guidance and prompt response to global demand, WHO convened a WHO Health Emergencies Programme Experts Advisory Panel for IPC.

:: A team of experts from WHO, Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network partners, the Robert Koch Institute in Germany and the Chinese Center for Disease Control concluded a technical support mission on COVID-19 to Iran on 10 March 2020. During the team’s mission in Iran, the Ministry of Health and Medical Education (MOHME) launched a national campaign to control COVID-19.

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We Cannot Let Fear Go Viral in Fight against COVID 19, says Secretary-General, Stressing importance of Moving Forward ‘With Resolve and Without Stigma’
11 March 2020
SG/SM/20004

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WHO, UN Foundation and partners launch first-of-its-kind COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund
13 March 2020 News release
GENEVA and Washington, D.C. – A new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Solidarity Response Fund will raise money from a wide range of donors to support the work of the World Health Organization (WHO) and partners to help countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund, the first-of-its-kind, enables private individuals, corporations and institutions anywhere in the world to come together to directly contribute to global response efforts, and has been created by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation, together with WHO.

“We are at a critical point in the global response to COVID-19 – we need everyone to get involved in this massive effort to keep the world safe,” said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “We are immensely grateful to the UN Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation for coming forward to help us set up this fund. A lot of people and institutions have been saying they want to contribute to the fight against the novel coronavirus. Now they can.”

The fund launches with major support already lined up, including from Facebook and Google who have instituted a matching scheme for funds raised through their platforms, while individual donors are also supporting the fund through www.COVID19ResponseFund.org

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Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard Launch Initiative to Speed Development and Access to Therapies for COVID-19
COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will coordinate R&D efforts and remove barriers to drug development and scale-up to address the epidemic
SEATTLE, March 10, 2020 – The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome, and Mastercard today committed up to $125 million in seed funding to speed-up the response to the COVID-19 epidemic by identifying, assessing, developing, and scaling-up treatments. The partners are committed to equitable access, including making products available and affordable in low-resource settings. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will play a catalytic role by accelerating and evaluating new and repurposed drugs and biologics to treat patients with COVID-19 in the immediate term, and other viral pathogens in the longer-term. Currently there are no broad-spectrum antivirals or immunotherapies available for the fight against emerging pathogens, and none approved for use on COVID-19.

The Gates Foundation and Wellcome are each contributing up to $50 million, and the Mastercard Impact Fund has committed up to $25 million to catalyze the initial work of the accelerator. The Gates Foundation’s funding is part of its up to $100 million commitment to the COVID-19 response announced last month.

“Viruses like COVID-19 spread rapidly, but the development of vaccines and treatments to stop them moves slowly,” said Mark Suzman, chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “If we want to make the world safe from outbreaks like COVID-19, particularly for those most vulnerable, then we need to find a way to make research and development move faster. That requires governments, private enterprise, and philanthropic organizations to act quickly to fund R&D.”

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will work with the World Health Organization, government and private sector funders and organizations, as well as the global regulatory and policy-setting institutions. The Accelerator will have an end-to-end focus, from drug pipeline development through manufacturing and scale-up. By sharing research, coordinating investments, and pooling resources, these efforts can help to accelerate research. This kind of collaboration was a key lesson from the 2014 Ebola outbreak. By providing fast and flexible funding at key stages of the development process, the Accelerator will de-risk the pathway for new drugs and biologics for COVID-19 and future epidemic threats, ensuring access in lower-resource countries.

The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator will operate jointly as an initiative of the funders, drawing on expertise from inside and outside their organizations. The Accelerator will pursue several aspects of the development cycle to streamline the pathway from candidate product to clinical assessment, use, and manufacturing. To identify candidate compounds, the Accelerator will take a three-pronged approach: testing approved drugs for activity against COVID-19, screening libraries of thousands of compounds with confirmed safety data, and considering new investigational compounds and monoclonal antibodies. Drugs or monoclonal antibodies that pass initial screening would then be developed by an industry partner. The biotech and pharmaceutical industries will be critical partners, bringing their compound libraries and clinical data to the collaboration and lending commercialization and other expertise that will be required to scale up successful drugs and monoclonal antibodies. In parallel to the development of the COVID-19 drug pipeline, the Accelerator will work with regulators to align criteria and develop manufacturing capacity with industry. An accelerated pathway to bringing effective treatments to patients is around one year for products that have current regulatory approval or candidates with existing clinical data. The timeline would be longer for compounds further upstream in the pipeline that have limited existing clinical data.

Dr. Jeremy Farrar, director of Wellcome said, “This virus is an unprecedented global threat, and one for which we must propel international partnerships to develop treatments, rapid diagnostics, and vaccines. Science is moving at a phenomenal pace against COVID-19, but to get ahead of this epidemic we need greater investment and to ensure research co-ordination. The Therapeutics Accelerator will allow us to do this for potential treatments with support for research, development, assessment, and manufacturing. COVID-19 is an extremely challenging virus, but we’ve proved that through collaborating across borders we can tackle emerging infectious diseases. We must strive to strengthen efforts in the face of COVID-19, and in doing so, continue to make sure advances are accessible and affordable to all. Investing now, at scale, at risk and as a collective global effort is vital if we are to change the course of this epidemic. We welcome others to join us in this effort.”

While antiviral drugs are approved to lessen the severity of seasonal flu and treat HIV, among other viral diseases, none have demonstrated efficacy against the current epidemic. One reason for the lack of effective treatments is that products may not have an immediate market, which can slow or prevent their research and commercial development. The COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator is designed to help by bringing together resources and expertise to lower the financial and technical risk for academia, biotech, and pharmaceutical companies, while ensuring that these products are accessible and affordable to people in low-resource settings. The expertise of pharmaceutical companies will be critical in identifying, researching, and commercializing successful drugs.

“We’re proud to join this crucial effort to combat COVID-19 in furtherance of our commitment to inclusive growth,” said Mike Froman, vice chairman of Mastercard. “This global challenge not only represents a risk to the health and safety of populations all over the world, but also poses a potential disruption to the economic vitality of millions of people, businesses, and organizations worldwide. Our experience with financial inclusion shows us the importance of building a network of parties who bring not only their capital, but complementary assets and skill sets to the table, and we welcome other partners concerned about inclusive growth to join this effort.”

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COVID-19: IFRC, UNICEF and WHO issue guidance to protect children and support safe school operations
Guidance includes practical actions and checklists for administrators, teachers, parents and children
10 March 2020 Joint News Release
GENEVA/NEW YORK – The International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC), UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) today issued new guidance to help protect children and schools from transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The guidance provides critical considerations and practical checklists to keep schools safe. It also advises national and local authorities on how to adapt and implement emergency plans for educational facilities.
In the event of school closures, the guidance includes recommendations to mitigate against the possible negative impacts on children’s learning and wellbeing. This means having solid plans in place to ensure the continuity of learning, including remote learning options such as online education strategies and radio broadcasts of academic content, and access to essential services for all children. These plans should also include necessary steps for the eventual safe reopening of schools…

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The economic impact of COVID-19: Can policy makers avert a multi-trillion dollar crisis?
UNCTAD/PRESS/PR/2020/003
Geneva, Switzerland, (09 March 2020)
:: Debt, delusion and policy drift likely to impact economic effects of health crisis.
:: Downside scenario sees a $2 trillion shortfall in global income with a $220 billion hit to developing countries.
:: Coordinated policymaking is needed to ensure localized incidents do not impact global markets.
The spread of the coronavirus is first and foremost a public health emergency, but it is also, a significant economic threat. The so-called “Covid-19” shock will cause a recession in some countries and depress global annual growth this year to below 2.5 per cent, the recessionary threshold for the world economy.
Even if the worst is avoided, the hit to global income, compared with what forecasters had been projecting for 2020 will be capped at around the trillion-dollar mark. But could it be worse? Published today, a new UNCTAD analysis suggests why this may be the case.
Losses of consumer and investor confidence are the most immediate signs of spreading contagion, the analysis suggests.
However, a combination of asset price deflation, weaker aggregate demand, heightened debt distress and a worsening income distribution could trigger a more vicious downward spiral. Widespread insolvency and possibly another “Minsky moment”, a sudden, big collapse of asset values which would mark the end of the growth phase of this cycle cannot be ruled out…

::::::

PNAS – Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
http://www.pnas.org/content/early/
[Accessed 14 Mar 2020]

Impact of international travel and border control measures on the global spread of the novel 2019 coronavirus outbreak
Chad R. Wells, Pratha Sah, Seyed M. Moghadas, Abhishek Pandey, Affan Shoukat, Yaning Wang, Zheng Wang, Lauren A. Meyers, Burton H. Singer, and Alison P. Galvani
PNAS first published March 13, 2020.
Significance
To contain the global spread of the 2019 novel coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19), border control measures, such as airport screening and travel restrictions, have been implemented in several countries. Our results show that these measures likely slowed the rate of exportation from mainland China to other countries, but are insufficient to contain the global spread of COVID-19. With most cases arriving during the asymptomatic incubation period, our results suggest that rapid contact tracing is essential both within the epicenter and at importation sites to limit human-to-human transmission outside of mainland China.
Abstract
The novel coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in mainland China has rapidly spread across the globe. Within 2 mo since the outbreak was first reported on December 31, 2019, a total of 566 Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS CoV-2) cases have been confirmed in 26 other countries. Travel restrictions and border control measures have been enforced in China and other countries to limit the spread of the outbreak. We estimate the impact of these control measures and investigate the role of the airport travel network on the global spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Our results show that the daily risk of exporting at least a single SARS CoV-2 case from mainland China via international travel exceeded 95% on January 13, 2020. We found that 779 cases (95% CI: 632 to 967) would have been exported by February 15, 2020 without any border or travel restrictions and that the travel lockdowns enforced by the Chinese government averted 70.5% (95% CI: 68.8 to 72.0%) of these cases. In addition, during the first three and a half weeks of implementation, the travel restrictions decreased the daily rate of exportation by 81.3% (95% CI: 80.5 to 82.1%), on average. At this early stage of the epidemic, reduction in the rate of exportation could delay the importation of cases into cities unaffected by the COVID-19 outbreak, buying time to coordinate an appropriate public health response.

 

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::::::

[U.S.] White House

Proclamations
Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak
Mar 13, 2020

Proclamations
Proclamation—Suspension of Entry as Immigrants and Nonimmigrants of Certain Additional Persons Who Pose a Risk of Transmitting 2019 Novel Coronavirus
Mar 11, 2020

 

::::::
::::::

Industry

Pfizer Outlines Five-Point Plan to Battle COVID-19
Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla Calls on Biopharma Industry to Collaborate on Combatting the Global Pandemic
March 13, 2020
Pfizer today issued a five-point plan calling on the biopharmaceutical industry to join the company in committing to unprecedented collaboration to combat COVID-19. Dr. Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO…
…Pfizer is making five promises that will help scientists more rapidly bring forward therapies and vaccines to protect humankind from this escalating pandemic and prepare the industry to better respond to future global health crises.

1. Sharing tools and insights: With very little known about this virus, many are working to develop cell-based assays, viral screening, serological assays, and translational models to test potential therapies and vaccines. Pfizer is committed to making the vital tools we develop available on an open source platform to the broader scientific community and to sharing the data and learnings gained with other companies in real time to rapidly advance therapies and vaccines to patients.

2. Marshalling our people: Human capital is our most valuable resource. Pfizer has created a SWAT team of our leading virologists, biologists, chemists, clinicians, epidemiologists, vaccine experts, pharmaceutical scientists and other key experts to focus solely on addressing this pandemic. This team is applying their passion, commitment and expertise to a single focus of accelerating the discovery and development process that will deliver therapies and vaccines to patients as soon as possible.

3. Applying our drug development expertise: Many smaller biotech companies are screening compounds or existing therapies for activity against the virus causing COVID-19, but some lack the experience in late stage development and navigating the complex regulatory systems. Pfizer is committed to sharing our clinical development and regulatory expertise to support the most promising candidates these companies bring forward.

4. Offering our manufacturing capabilities: Once a therapy or vaccine is approved it will need to be rapidly scaled and deployed around the world to put an end to this pandemic. As one of the largest manufacturers of vaccines and therapeutics, Pfizer is committed to using any excess manufacturing capacity and to potentially shifting production to support others in rapidly getting these life-saving breakthroughs into the hands of patients as quickly as possible.

5. Improving future rapid response: Finally, to address future global health threats, Pfizer is reaching out to federal agencies including NIH, NIAID and CDC to build a cross-industry rapid response team of scientists, clinicians and technicians able to move into action immediately when future epidemics surface…

 

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Johnson & Johnson Announces Collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center to Accelerate COVID-19 Vaccine Development
NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., March 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Johnson & Johnson today announced that its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies have entered a collaboration with the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) to support the development of a preventive vaccine candidate for COVID-19. The parties have commenced preclinical testing of multiple vaccine prospects, with the aim to identify by the end of the month a COVID-19 vaccine candidate for clinical trials.
Janssen is optimistic that, in collaboration with multiple global strategic partners, it can initiate a Phase 1 clinical study of a potential vaccine candidate by the end of the year. In parallel to these efforts, Janssen is preparing to upscale production and manufacturing capacities to levels required to meet global public health vaccination needs…

 

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::::::

Emergencies = Ebola

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 83: 10 March 2020
[Excerpts]
Situation Update
No new cases of Ebola virus disease have been reported since 17 February 2020, and on 3 March 2020, the only person confirmed to have EVD in the last 21 days (Figure 1) was discharged from an Ebola Treatment Centre after recovering and testing negative twice for the virus. This is an important milestone in the outbreak. However, there is still a high risk of re-emergence of EVD, and a critical need to maintain response operations to rapidly detect and respond to any new cases, and to prioritize continued survivor support, monitoring and cooperative relationships with the survivors’ associations – as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria for declaring the end of the EVD outbreak.…

…Conclusion
Given the long duration and large magnitude of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, there is a high risk of re-emergence of the virus during the lead up to the declaration of the end of the outbreak, and for several months following that declaration. These risks are exacerbated by potential limitations (e.g. shortages funding, access to communities, competing health emergencies) imposed on the response. To mitigate the risk of re-emergence, it is critical to maintain surveillance and rapid response capacities, and to prioritize survivor care and the maintenance of cooperative relationships with survivors’ associations during and well beyond the 42 days lead up to the end of outbreak declaration.

Emergencies

Emergencies

POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
http://polioeradication.org/polio-today/polio-now/this-week/

Polio this week as of 11 March 2020
Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: one WPV1 positive environmental sample
:: Pakistan: four WPV1 cases and 13 WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Angola: one cVDPV2 case
:: Chad: Seven cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Côte d’Ivoire: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Democratic Republic of the Congo: three cVDPV2 cases
:: Ghana: one cVDPV2 case

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::::::

WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 14 Mar 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 83: 10 March 2020
[See Ebola above for detail]

Syrian Arab Republic
:: In 4 years, 494 attacks on health killed 470 patients and health staff in Syria
March 2020, Geneva/Copenhagen/Cairo – The World Health Organization condemns in the strongest terms, attacks on health care that have been a hallmark of the complex humanitarian crisis in Syria that this month enters its tenth year.
“The data we can now reveal on attacks on health in Syria is a grim testament to a blatant disrespect for international humanitarian law and the lives of civilians and health workers,“ said Richard Brennan, WHO‘s Regional Emergency Director in the Eastern Mediterranean…

Nigeria – No new digest announcements identified
Mozambique floods – No new digest announcements identified
Somalia – No new digest announcements identified
South Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 14 Mar 2020]
Measles in Europe
:: WHO donates equipment to support response to measles outbreak in Kyrgyzstan 10-03-2020

Afghanistan – No new digest announcements identified
Angola – No new digest announcements identified
Burkina Faso [in French] – No new digest announcements identified
Burundi – No new digest announcements identified
Cameroon – No new digest announcements identified
Central African Republic – No new digest announcements identified
Ethiopia – No new digest announcements identified
HIV in Pakistan – No new digest announcements identified
Iran – No new digest announcements identified
Iraq – No new digest announcements identified
Libya – No new digest announcements identified
Malawi – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – No new digest announcements identified
Niger – No new digest announcements identified
occupied Palestinian territory – No new digest announcements identified
Sudan – No new digest announcements identified
Ukraine – No new digest announcements identified
Zimbabwe – No new digest announcements identified

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WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 14 Mar 2020]

Chad – No new digest announcements identified
Djibouti – No new digest announcements identified
Kenya – No new digest announcements identified
Mali – No new digest announcements identified
Namibia – viral hepatitis – No new digest announcements identified
Tanzania – No new digest announcements identified

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::::::

UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Recent Developments in Northwest Syria – Situation Report No. 10 – As of 12 March 2020
:: Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 02 – 11 March 2020

Yemen – No new digest announcements identified

::::::

UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
CYCLONE IDAI and Kenneth – No new digest announcements identified
EBOLA OUTBREAK IN THE DRC – No new digest announcements identified

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The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 7 March 2020 :: Number 307

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

PDF: The Sentinel_ period ending 7 Mar 2020

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities   [see PDF]
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals  [see PDF]

Greece-Turkey Border: Migrants must not be used as a political tool. The EU and Member States must act in solidarity now.

Migration: Greece-Turkey Border

Greece-Turkey Border: Migrants must not be used as a political tool. The EU and Member States must act in solidarity now.
Geneva/Budapest, 3 March 2020 – Women, children and men caught up in the ongoing humanitarian crisis at the land border between Greece and Turkey, in the Greek islands and in the Aegean Sea must not be “used as a political tool”, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) warned today.

Speaking of the deteriorating humanitarian situation, IFRC President Francesco Rocca said: “It is unacceptable that children and families are exposed to tear gas and violence or have to risk their lives in the Aegean Sea. We will not be silent in the face of this dire humanitarian situation, which may become even worse in the next hours and days.”

The IFRC is deeply concerned that thousands of people, including vulnerable children, may suffer the consequences of the recent surge of migrants trying to cross the border between Turkey and Greece. While Governments have the right and responsibility to set migration policies and to control their own borders, steps should be taken to ensure the implementation of such policies do not increase suffering.

“EU Member States should respond in a spirit of solidarity to the recent increase in numbers of people seeking refuge at the EU’s external borders. They must enact their responsibilities in protecting people and saving lives. EU governments cannot turn their backs on Turkey and Greece. Southern European States cannot be left alone. All States have a responsibility to protect people and save lives,” President Rocca said.

“We call on the EU and the national Governments to avoid using migrants as a political tool, to ensure that asylum seekers can apply for international protection, in line with international and EU laws. Access to humanitarian assistance and essential services, including healthcare, ought to be guaranteed for all people, in particular children and other vulnerable groups,” he ended.

::::::

Greece
EU must address migration emergency as Greek islands reach breaking point
Statement 4 Mar 2020
In recent days, the Greek government took a series of harsh measures to push back thousands of asylum seekers and migrants attempting to enter from Turkey. Greece sent military forces to the border, said it would suspend asylum applications, and deport migrants who entered irregularly. One child died and 47 migrants were rescued after their boat capsized off the island of Lesbos, the Greek coastguard said. Separately, video footage released by the Turkish government appears to show members of the Greek coastguard shooting into the water near migrants. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has urged authorities not to use excessive or disproportionate force and is calling for continued resources from other European states.

Stefano Argenziano, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) operations coordinator for Greece, gave the following statement calling on the Greek government and other European Union (EU) member states to take immediate action to address the ongoing emergency facing people trapped in horrific conditions:

“It is now almost four years since the EU-Turkey statement traded human lives for political gains.

Once again, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sees that EU member states are willing to deter people from seeking safety at all cost, rather than providing the most basic assistance to men, women and children in need. This deterrence places them in further danger. In recent days, this has culminated with the death of a child, teargassing people at land-borders, and reports of coastguards violently interfering with, instead of helping, boats in distress.

With 40,000 people trapped on the Greek islands, the situation has reached breaking point for asylum seekers and local communities alike who have both been abandoned by European leaders for the sake of the EU-Turkey deal. Consequently, increased tensions have led to riots, roadblocks and attacks on those trying to provide assistance.

People in need on the islands are deprived of critical assistance as MSF teams and others have had to limit the volume of activity due to safety concerns. The Greek Government and the European Union must take immediate action to de-escalate the situation.

The emergency measures announced by the Greek government will have devastating consequences as they remove the right to claim protection and aim to push people fleeing war back to Turkey. This will only lead to more chaos, deaths at sea, escalating violence and a worsening humanitarian disaster.

EU member states must address the real emergency: evacuate people from the islands to EU countries, deliver an asylum system that works, and stop trapping people in horrific conditions.

MSF teams in Lesbos are currently adjusting their activities on daily basis according to the security conditions around Moria and Mytilene. We are committed to staying on Lesbos to ensure that asylum seekers receive the medical and mental healthcare they need.”

Lack of Quality Data Compounds Risks Facing Millions of Refugee and Migrant Children

Lack of Quality Data Compounds Risks Facing Millions of Refugee and Migrant Children
2020-03-03 13:15
UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR, OECD, various countries and other partners join forces to protect children through the International Data Alliance on Children on the Move

New York – The widespread lack of quality data on millions of displaced and migrant children is compounding the serious risks they face, a coalition of international organizations announced today in New York during the launch of the International Data Alliance on Children on the Move.

The Alliance – led by UNICEF, IOM, UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and OECD, and currently including about 30 members from government agencies, NGOs, civil society and other partners – aims to improve data and statistics on this vulnerable group of children to support evidence-based policymaking that protects and empowers them.

Improving the availability of data on migrants in vulnerable situations, including children, was one of the main themes discussed during the second International Forum on Migration Statistics in Cairo earlier this year.

“Tens of millions of children have migrated across borders or been forcibly displaced, but in so many cases, we don’t have the information needed to keep them safe,” said Mark Hereward, UNICEF Associate Director for Data and Analytics. “If we don’t know who they are, where they’ve come from or whether they’re alone, how can we ensure they are protected and get the support they need? Improving data quality, availability and analysis is essential to properly identifying and reaching these children.”

“Between 2014 and 2018 more than 1,825 children – an average of almost one every day – were reported dead or missing. Many more such incidents go unrecorded. This is a grim reminder that children are among the most vulnerable groups of migrants,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s GMDAC.

The work of the Alliance will also support implementation of the two Global Compacts on Migration and Refugees as well as the child migration relevant targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Leaving no one behind is the central promise of the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs. We need more harmonised data, as a prerequisite for making sound policy decisions. This is the only way to show the extent of the challenges children on the move face and their vulnerability,” said Deputy Director General of Statistics Netherlands, Dr Bert Kroese.

Over the next two years, the Alliance will work to achieve three primary objectives:
[1] Support countries and regions to strengthen their capacities to collect, analyze and use data on migrant and refugee children.
[2] Produce an annual flagship report with data on migrant and refugee children to monitor global progress in improving data and highlight key knowledge gaps.
[3] Convene an annual conference and establish a global network to facilitate the exchange of local, national, regional and international good practices on data collection, analysis and dissemination to support data initiatives between and within countries.

The Alliance will also coordinate and work closely with other established groups and networks focusing on data in migration and displacement, including the UN Migration Network, the UN Expert Group on Migration Statistics (EGMS), the Expert Group on Refugee and IDP Statistics (EGRIS), and the Global Compact on Youth in Humanitarian Action…

World Could Achieve ‘Gender Dividend’ of $172 Trillion from Closing Lifetime Earnings Gaps – World Bank

World Could Achieve ‘Gender Dividend’ of $172 Trillion from Closing Lifetime Earnings Gaps
WASHINGTON, March 3, 2020 —A new report from the World Bank Group released ahead of International Women’s Day shows that the world could achieve a ‘gender dividend’ of $172 trillion by closing gaps in lifetime labor earnings between women and men.

The study, “How Large is the Gender Dividend? Measuring Selected Impacts and Costs of Gender Inequality,” finds that if women earned the same as men, global human capital wealth could increase by about one-fifth, and women’s human capital wealth could increase by more than half.

“This report builds on past research to highlight the cost of the gender earnings gap, which holds countries back from achieving their full potential,” said Caren Grown, Senior Director of Gender at the World Bank Group. “Improving women’s lifetime earnings opportunities can be achieved by taking actions that redistribute and balance care responsibilities, create a pipeline of talent by closing the gender gap in employment and entrepreneurship, and tackling discriminatory laws and restrictive social norms that hold back girls and women.”

‘How Large is the Gender Dividend?,’ supported by Global Affairs Canada, examines other domains of gender inequality in addition to the earnings gap, including: educational attainment, child marriage and early childbearing; fertility and population growth; health, nutrition, well-being, and violence; and agency, decision-making, and social capital.

It shows:
:: Gender inequality impacts women throughout their lives but is especially detrimental in adolescence.
:: Child marriage and early childbearing have lasting negative impacts on the health of young women and their children, and entrench gender inequalities.
:: Gender inequality affects many development outcomes, with large intergenerational impacts…

NEW REPORT: Freedom in the World 2020 finds established democracies are in decline

Freedom – Democracies

NEW REPORT: Freedom in the World 2020 finds established democracies are in decline
Press release March 4, 2020
Full Report PDF

Key Findings
:: Of the 195 countries assessed, 83 (43 percent) were rated Free, 63 (32 percent) were Partly Free, and 49 (25 percent) were Not Free. The share of Free countries has declined by 3 percentage points over the last decade, while the percentage of Partly Free and Not Free countries rose by two and one points, respectively.

:: The gap between setbacks and gains widened. People in 64 countries experienced deterioration in their political rights and civil liberties in 2019, while those in just 37 countries experienced improvements. The difference was smaller in 2018, when 68 countries declined and 50 made gains.

:: The countries with the year’s largest gains and declines were concentrated in Africa. Benin, Mozambique, and Tanzania suffered from flawed elections and state repression of dissent, while Sudan, Madagascar, and Ethiopia benefited from progress toward reform and more democratic rule.

:: Most established democracies have experienced declines over the past 14 years. Of the world’s 41 established democracies as of 2005, defined as those that had been rated Free for each of the previous 20 years, 25 have since suffered net score declines.

:: Mass protests yielded mixed results for each country or territory’s overall score. For example, Hong Kong slipped by four points due in part to acts of repression by police and progovernment thugs. Sudan’s score improved by five points after its protest movement paved the way for a power-sharing transitional government.

:: As democratic states display faltering support for freedom on the international stage, authoritarian powers have expanded their global influence through proxy wars, election interference, and censorship beyond their borders.

“The report shows clearly once again, democracy is in decline,” said Abramowitz. “Political rights and civil liberties are threatened in free societies and repressive ones alike. It is possible to turn the tide on this trend, but it is going to take concerted efforts from governments, pressure from the people, and partnership from the business community.”

Comment – Authoritarianism, outbreaks, and information politics

Featured Journal Content

Lancet Public Health
Feb 2020 Volume 5 Number 2 e71-e126
https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/issue/current
Comment
Authoritarianism, outbreaks, and information politics
Matthew M Kavanagh
Are autocratic states such as China better equipped than their more democratic counterparts to respond to disease outbreaks? On Dec 31, 2019, China alerted WHO to an outbreak of pneumonia of unknown cause in the city of Wuhan in Hubei province. The epidemic quickly spread, with cases of a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) confirmed throughout China and elsewhere in Asia, Europe, North America, and Australia. The Chinese Government’s forceful response has drawn praise from global health officials. Scholars and health leaders have long debated whether democracy improves, hinders, or is immaterial for public health.1, 2, 3 Does this signal an authoritarian advantage in tackling outbreaks?

On the surface, the power of authoritarianism is on display in China’s response to 2019-nCoV. The Huanan seafood market suspected as the outbreak source was closed and decontaminated within a day of the announcement. Within 3 days of confirmed human-to-human transmission, with cases rising and the world’s largest mass travel event underway for the lunar new year Spring Festival, the Chinese Government imposed an unprecedented cordon sanitaire. Movement of more than 50 million people across Hubei province was rapidly restricted, curtailing transportation inside cities and outbound transportation by air, train, and bus.4 Authorities halted Spring Festival celebrations in Beijing and restricted movement into other major cities. Two 1000-bed hospitals were built within days. These moves reflect a level of control only available to authoritarian governments. WHO officials have congratulated China for setting “a new standard for outbreak response”.5

Yet, time is key to controlling outbreaks; getting good information and acting on it rapidly can halt outbreaks before they need emergency measures. The early history of the 2019-nCoV outbreak raises questions about whether this situation is an example of beneficial autocracy.

For Amartya Sen, authoritarian states face serious challenges in information and accountability.6
Governments in closed political systems, without open media and opposition parties, struggle to receive accurate information in a timely manner and to convey urgent information to the public. Governments can be the victims of their own propaganda, because the country’s political institutions provide incentives to local officials to avoid sharing bad news with their central bosses and await instructions before acting.

Information politics in China undermined a rapid response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak. Health-care workers suspected an outbreak in early December, 2019,7 but information with which the public might have taken preventive measures was suppressed, and communication channels that might have alerted senior officials to the growing threat were shut down.8 Police detained a clinician and seven other people posting reports on 2019-nCoV, threatening punishment for spreading so-called rumors. Social media was censored; a preliminary analysis of Weibo and WeChat published on China’s biggest online platform9 showed outbreak discussions were nearly non-existent through much of January, 2020, until the Chinese Government changed its official stance on Jan 20, 2020.

Through much of January, 2020, the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission reported no evidence of human-to-human transmission, no infection among health workers, that severe cases of disease caused by 2019-nCoV infection were confined to those with underlying conditions and older people, and that the Huanan seafood market was the source.11 Reports in The Lancet7 and New England Journal of Medicine,12 however, show that half of patients admitted to intensive-care units were aged 25–49 years, and two-thirds had no underlying illnesses. Human-to-human transmission and health-worker infection were evident before the Chinese Government made an announcement.12 This information either did not make it to authorities or the public were misinformed. The Mayor of Wuhan has said publicly that not only was information not revealed in a timely manner but also they did not use information effectively.10 By the time quarantine went into effect on Jan 23, 2020, five million people had left the city of Wuhan for holiday travel.10 Outbreaks were subsequently reported throughout China.

Without open media and an opposition to check on bureaucratic hierarchy, knowledge from the front lines of the 2019-nCoV outbreak did not reach Beijing. Weeks into the outbreak, leaders were forced to publicly threaten that officials withholding information “will be nailed on the pillar of shame for eternity”.4

Is there an authoritarian advantage in disease response? It seems that authoritarian information politics inhibited a rapid response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak in China, which could have limited the crisis. It is not yet clear if the extraordinary cordons and influx of resources enabled by autocratic rule will prove a successful public health strategy. Yet, in building capacity to prevent, detect, and respond to outbreaks, democratic openness and competitive politics seem more asset than inadequacy.

EMERGENCIES – Coronavirus [COVID-19]

EMERGENCIES

Coronavirus [COVID-19]
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Situation report – 47 [WHO]
Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
07 March 2020

[Excerpts]
SITUATION IN NUMBERS
Globally :: 101.927 confirmed [3735 new]
China :: 80,813 confirmed [102 new]
:: 3,073 deaths [28 new]
Outside of China
:: 21,110 confirmed [3633 new]
:: 93 countries/territories/areas [5 new]
:: 413 deaths [78 new]

WHO RISK ASSESSMENT
China – Very High
Regional Level – Very High
Global Level – Very High

HIGHLIGHTS
:: 5 new countries/territories/areas (Colombia, Holy See, Peru, Serbia, and Togo) have reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
:: The global number of reported cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 100,000.
:: OpenWHO has reached 161, 000 learners in COVID-19 courses. The introductory course on COVID-19 has been partially or fully translated into 17 national languages. For more information, and to enroll in these free courses, please visit OpenWHO’s COVID-19 channel.

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World Bank Group Announces Up to $12 Billion Immediate Support for COVID-19 Country Response
Fast Track Financing for Developing Countries
ASHINGTON, March 3, 2020 — As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available an initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak. This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies. The financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.

The COVID-19 support package will make available initial crisis resources of up to $12 billion in financing — $8 billion of which is new — on a fast track basis. This comprises up to $2.7 billion new financing from IBRD; $1.3 billion from IDA, complemented by reprioritization of $2 billion of the Bank’s existing portfolio; and $6 billion from IFC, including $2 billion from existing trade facilities. It will also include policy advice and technical assistance drawing on global expertise and country-level knowledge.

“We are working to provide a fast, flexible response based on developing country needs in dealing with the spread of COVID-19,” said World Bank Group President David Malpass. “This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.”…

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CEPI welcomes UK Government’s funding and highlights need for $2 billion to develop a vaccine against COVID-19
06 Mar 2020
“It is increasingly clear that containment measures for COVID-19 can only slow down its spread and the virus is now entering a stage of unprecedented threat in terms of its global impact. While we heartily support the range of public health measures that governments are putting in place to protect their populations, it is critical that we also invest in the development of a vaccine that will prevent people from getting sick in the first place. Working as part of the global response, CEPI has committed $100 million of its own funds and moved with unprecedented speed to initiate a programme of vaccine development with the goal of having vaccine candidates in early stage clinical trials in as little as 16 weeks. However, these funds will be fully allocated by the end of March and without immediate additional financial contributions the vaccine programmes we have begun will not be able to progress and ultimately will not deliver the vaccines that the world needs.
Dr. Richard Hatchett
Chief Executive Officer, CEPI

Emergencies – Ebola

Emergencies

Ebola – DRC+
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 82: 01 March 2020
[Excerpts]
Situation Update
From 24 February to 1 March 2020, no new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Figure 1). In the past 21 days (10 February to 1 March), the outbreak has been confined to a relatively small geographic area. During this period, two new confirmed cases were reported from one health area in Beni Health Zone, North Kivu Province (Figure 2, Table 1). It has been more than 42 days since new cases were detected in all health zones except Beni and Mabalako, though surveillance activities are ongoing in all health zones to avoid resurgence of the outbreak…

…Conclusion
While there is room for cautious optimism around the absence of new confirmed cases this week, the outbreak remains active and risks of additional cases emerging remain high. Response activities must be maintained in all health zones.