ICAO assisting with humanitarian flight operations during COVID-19

COVID-19 :: Humanitarian Flight Operations

ICAO assisting with humanitarian flight operations during COVID-19
Montréal, 25 March 2020 – As part of its ongoing efforts in the global response to COVID-19, ICAO has taken action to assist the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS), managed by the World Food Programme (WFP), as it continues to try to deliver reliable and effective passenger and light cargo transport during the COVID-19 pandemic in support of wide-ranging humanitarian goals.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres recently drew attention to the fact that the COVID-19 virus “does not care about nationality or ethnicity, faction or faith. It attacks all, relentlessly.” He underscored that as armed conflicts still rage around the world, “the most vulnerable — women and children, people with disabilities, the marginalized and the displaced — pay the highest price.”

With WFP facing difficulties in keeping abreast of global airport closures, posing risks to the reliable transport of relief staff and supplies, ICAO assisted with a new app it had already been developing to monitor government aeronautical information for up-to-the-minute airport closure updates.

ICAO’s Regional Offices have been actively coordinating with WFP counterparts and have been assisting with their efforts to expand MEDEVACS capacity globally and to establish seven dependable hub airports to support its worldwide humanitarian flight operations…

“UNHAS operations are critical to many citizens and societies no matter the global situation, and in many instances they are the only option for getting supplies to the world’s most remote and challenging locations,” noted ICAO Secretary General Dr. Fang Liu. “As we work together to respond to a global pandemic they become even more important, however, and therefore throughout the COVID-19 pandemic we’re calling on governments to be cognizant and proactive in assuring and supporting these vital air services.”

UNESCO rallies international organizations, civil society and private sector partners in a broad Coalition to ensure #LearningNeverStops

COVID-19 :: Education

UNESCO rallies international organizations, civil society and private sector partners in a broad Coalition to ensure #LearningNeverStops
At a time of when 87% of the world’s student population is affected by COVID-19 school closures, UNESCO is launching a global education coalition to support countries in scaling up their best distance learning practices and reaching children and youth who are most at risk.

Over 1.5 billion learners in 165 countries are affected by COVID-19 school closures.
“Never before have we witnessed educational disruption on such a scale,” said UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay. “Partnership is the only way forward. This Coalition is a call for coordinated and innovative action to unlock solutions that will not only support learners and teachers now, but through the recovery process, with a principle focus on inclusion and equity.”…

Multilateral partners, including the International Labor Organization, the UN High Commission for Refugees, The United Nations Children’s Fund, the World Health Organization, the World Food Programme and the International Telecommunication Union, as well as the Global Partnership for Education, Education Cannot Wait, the OIF (Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie) the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and the Asian Development Bank have joined the Coalition, stressing the need for swift and coordinated support to countries in order to mitigate the adverse impacts of school closures, in particular for the most disadvantaged.

The private sector, including, Microsoft, GSMA, Weidong, Google, Facebook, Zoom, KPMG and Coursera have also joined the Coalition, contributing resources and their expertise around technology, notably connectivity, and capacity strengthening. Companies using learner and educational data have committed to uphold ethical standards.

Philanthropic and non-profit organizations, including Khan Academy, Dubai Cares, Profuturo and Sesame Street are also part of the Coalition, mobilizing their resources and services to support schools, teachers, parents and learners during this time of unparalleled educational disruption.
Media outlets are also invited to join the Coalition, as has done the BBC World Service as part of its commitment to supporting young people in lockdown across the globe. The BBC will be producing advice, stories, and media education materials to help isolated young people understand how the Coronavirus may affect them…

Specifically, the Coalition aims to:
:: Help countries in mobilizing resources and implementing innovative and context-appropriate solutions to provide education remotely, leveraging hi-tech, low-tech and no-tech approaches
:: Seek equitable solutions and universal access
:: Ensure coordinated responses and avoid overlapping efforts
:: Facilitate the return of students to school when they reopen to avoid an upsurge in dropout rates

“We are working together to find a way to make sure that children everywhere can continue their education, with special care to the most vulnerable and disadvantaged communities,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization, in a video message marking the Coalition’s launch, together with UNESCO Director-General and other personalities.

COVID-19: WCO launches an IPR CENcomm Group for data exchange on counterfeit medical supplies and fake medicines

COVID-19 :: Fake Medicines

COVID-19: WCO launches an IPR CENcomm Group for data exchange on counterfeit medical supplies and fake medicines
25 March 2020
While the world is gripped by the fight against COVID-19, criminal organizations have turned this global pandemic into an opportunity to carry out their fraudulent activities, particularly by trafficking counterfeit medical supplies such as face masks and medical gloves.

Recognizing the importance of permanent and real-time exchange of relevant information to fight these criminal activities, the World Customs Organization (WCO) launched the Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) CENcomm Group on the newly modernized CENcomm 3.0 platform.

“The WCO stands for a united and strong response to any crisis, which affects the global supply chain and safety of societies,” said WCO Secretary General Dr. Kunio Mikuriya. “This new IPR CENcomm group will globally enhance real-time intelligence sharing on fake medical supplies and medicines and enable Customs worldwide to fight illicit trade. Organized criminal groups will not be the winner in this challenge,” added Dr. Mikuriya.

This tool, a web-based communication system, will allow a closed user group of Customs officers to exchange intelligence information, messages and alerts via secure channels. This information exchange will empower and enhance participating administrations’ risk management and enforcement operations in the areas of countering IPR infringements and consumers safety capacity.

The WCO urges its 183 Members to register for the IPR CENcomm Group and to submit the details of their national contact points of this group.

The WCO is constantly monitoring the development of this situation and is updating its Members on any new development through the dedicated WCO webpage.

WHO: Guiding principles for immunization activities during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 :: Immunization

WHO: Guiding principles for immunization activities during the COVID-19 pandemic
Interim guidance – 26 March 2020
This document provides guiding principles and considerations to support countries in their decision-making regarding provision of immunization services during the COVID-19 pandemic and is endorsed by the WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization. It is complemented by a range of WHO technical materials on response and mitigation measures for COVID-19.4 Each country will need to make individual risk assessments based on the local dynamics of COVID-19 transmission, immunization and health system characteristics, and current VPD epidemiology in their setting.

Guiding Principles
1. Immunization is a core health service that should be prioritized for the prevention of communicable diseases and safeguarded for continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, where feasible.5 Immunization delivery strategies may need to be adapted and should be conducted under safe conditions, without undue harm to health workers, caregivers and the community.6

2. VPD surveillance should be maintained and reinforced to enable early detection and management of VPD cases, and where feasible, contribute to surveillance of COVID-19.

3. National authorities will need to continuously monitor the dynamics of COVID-19 in their country or region. National Immunization Technical Advisory Groups (NITAGs) have an important role in providing advice with respect to the maintenance, adaptation, suspension and/or reinstatement of immunization services.

4. If provision of immunization services is negatively impacted by COVID-19, countries will need to design strategies for catch-up vaccination for the period post COVID-19 outbreak and make plans which anticipate a gradual recovery. Implementation of catch-up will require strategies to track and follow-up with individuals who missed vaccinations, assess immunity gaps, and re-establish community demand. Innovation and creativity will be required.

5. Based on the current understanding of transmission of the COVID-19 virus and recommendations for physical distancing, mass vaccination campaigns should be temporarily suspended. Countries should monitor and re-evaluate at regular intervals the necessity for delaying mass vaccination campaigns.

6. The conduct of outbreak response mass vaccination campaigns will require a careful risk-benefit analysis on a case-by-case basis, assessing risks of a delayed response against the risks associated with an immediate response, both in terms of morbidity and mortality for the VPD and the potential impact of further transmission of the COVID-19 virus.

7. Where feasible, influenza vaccination of health workers, older adults, and pregnant women is advised.7

Related documents
:: Guidance for health-care workers during COVID-19
:: COVID-19: Operational guidance for maintaining essential health services during an outbreak


Statement by UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore on the disruption of immunization and basic health services due to the COVID-19 pandemic
NEW YORK, 26 March 2020: “Around the world, the COVID-19 pandemic is overstretching health services as health workers are diverted to support the response.

“Physical distancing is leading parents to make the difficult decision to defer routine immunization.

“Medical goods are in short supply and supply chains are under historic strain due to transport disruptions. Flight cancellations and trade restrictions by countries have severely constrained access to essential medicines, including vaccines.

“As the pandemic progresses, critical life-saving services, including immunization, will likely be disrupted, especially in Africa, Asia and the Middle East where they are sorely needed.
“At the greatest risk are children from the poorest families in countries affected by conflicts and natural disasters.

“We are particularly concerned about countries that are battling measles, cholera or polio outbreaks while responding to COVID-19 cases, such as Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, the Philippines, Syria and South Sudan. Not only would such outbreaks tax already stretched health services, they could also lead to additional loss of lives and suffering. At a time like this, these countries can ill-afford to face additional outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases.

“The message is clear: We must not allow lifesaving health interventions to fall victim to our efforts to address COVID-19.

“UNICEF is committed to supporting basic health care and immunization needs in the worst affected countries, and to doing so in a way that limits the risk of COVID-19 transmission. We are working hard to ensure adequate vaccine supplies are available in countries that need them. We are in close communication with global vaccine suppliers to ensure production is not disrupted and supply is managed in the best possible manner under these difficult circumstances. We are also providing greater support to governments to continue the supply of vaccines during this pandemic.

“In the days to come, governments may have to temporarily postpone preventive mass vaccination campaigns in many places to ensure that the delivery of immunization services does not contribute to COVID-19 spread, and to follow recommendations on physical distancing.
“UNICEF strongly recommends that all governments begin rigorous planning now to intensify immunization activities once the COVID -19 pandemic is under control. These vaccination activities must focus on children who will miss vaccine doses during this period of interruption and prioritize the poorest and most vulnerable children. To successfully roll-out vaccines against COVID -19 when they become available, we need to ensure that our immunization programmes remain robust and can reach those that will need these vaccines the most.

“Immunization remains a life-saving health intervention. As the world’s biggest buyer and supplier of vaccines, UNICEF will continue to play a pivotal role in supporting governments’ current and future immunization efforts.”

EMERGENCIES – Coronavirus [COVID-19]


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


Situation report – 67 [WHO]

Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
27 March 2020
509 164 confirmed (46 484)
23 335 deaths (2501)

Western Pacific Region
100 018 confirmed (960)
3567 deaths (27)

European Region
286 697 confirmed (36 414)
16 105 deaths (2155)

South-East Asia Region
2932 confirmed (396)
105 deaths (26)

Eastern Mediterranean Region
35 249 confirmed (2807)
2336 deaths (174)

Region of the Americas
81 137 confirmed (5425)
1176 deaths (111)

African Region
2419 confirmed (482)
39 deaths (8)

Global Level – Very High

:: Two new countries/territories/areas from the Region of the Americas [2] have reported cases of COVID-19.

:: The total global number of COVID-19 cases has surpassed 500 000.

:: Addressing the Extraordinary Summit on COVID-19, the WHO Director-General called on G20 leaders to fight, unite, and ignite against COVID-19.

:: WHO concluded the technical support mission to Egypt on 25 March 2020. More information can be found on the Eastern Mediterranean Regional Office site.

:: OpenWHO celebrates 1 million enrollments today. Seventy percent of the total enrollments are on COVID-19 resources, reflecting the critical role the platform is playing in supporting the response to the pandemic. On 25 March, a new course was launched describing how to design and operate treatment centres for the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 resources are hosted on two learning channels: one for courses in official WHO languages and a second for courses in additional national languages.

:: The number of countries implementing additional health measures that significantly interfere with international traffic has increased since the declaration of COVID-19 as a public health emergency of international concern. The United Nations World Tourism Organization launched a Crisis Committee to review the impact of the outbreak on the aviation, shipping and tourism sectors and propose innovative solutions for recovery.


Emergencies – Ebola


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

Ebola Outbreak in DRC 85: 24 March 2020
Situation Update
No new cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported since 17 February 2020. The last person confirmed to have Ebola was discharged from an Ebola Treatment Centre on 3 March 2020 after recovering and testing negative for the virus twice. The last 46 contacts finished their follow-up period on 9 March 2020. These developments are significant milestones in this outbreak. There is, however, still a high risk of re-emergence of EVD, and it is critical to maintain response activities to rapidly detect and respond to any new cases, and to continue ongoing support and health monitoring operations for EVD survivors – as outlined in the WHO recommended criteria for declaring the end of the EVD outbreak.
Extensive surveillance, pathogen detection, and clinical management activities in previously affected areas continue, including alert validation, rapid diagnosis of suspected cases, and building of partnerships with community members to strengthen investigation of potential community EVD deaths…

Given the challenges related to continued insecurity and population displacement in previous hotspots, limited access to some affected communities, and potential shortages of resources required to carry out response activities, there remains a high risk of re-emergence of the virus in the period leading up to the declaration of the end of the outbreak, as well as for several months following that declaration. In order to mitigate the risk of re-emergence, it is essential to maintain surveillance and rapid response capacities, prioritize survivor care, and maintain cooperative relationships with survivors’ associations.




Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)

Polio this week as of 25 March 2020
:: The COVID-19 emergency means that many aspects of the polio eradication programme will be affected. In light of the situation, the Polio Oversight Board (POB) has come up with a set of recommendations for polio eradicators…[See Milestones above for detail]

Summary of new viruses this week (AFP cases and ES positives):
:: Afghanistan: four WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Pakistan: two WPV1 cases and six WPV1 positive environmental samples
:: Central African Republic: one cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Angola: two cVDPV2 cases
:: Cameroon: one cVDPV2 case and three cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Chad: five cVDPV2 cases and two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples
:: Côte d’Ivoire: two cVDPV2 positive environmental sample
:: Ethiopia : three cVDPV2 cases
:: Malaysia: one cVDPV1 case
:: Ghana: two cVDPV2 positive environmental samples


WHO Grade 3 Emergencies [to 28 Mar 2020]

Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: Ebola Outbreak in DRC 85: 24 March 2020
[See Ebola above for detail]

Mozambique floods
:: World Health Organization: Five cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Mozambique 26 March 2020

Nigeria – 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


WHO Grade 2 Emergencies [to 28 Mar 2020]
:: Niger : Table ronde des PTF pour le financement du plan global de réponse à la pandé…
26 mars 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
Measles in Europe – No new digest announcements identified
MERS-CoV – No new digest announcements identified
Myanmar – 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


WHO Grade 1 Emergencies [to 28 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


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. 11 – As of 27 March 2020
:: Syrian Arab Republic: COVID-19 Update No. 03 – 25 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