“To prevail against COVID19, we need an approach that unites in common cause every individual and community, every business and non-profit, every department of every government, every non-governmental organization, every international organization, and every regional and global governance body, to harness their collective capacity into collective action.” (WHO, 2020 April 14, p. 190)

On April 14, 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) published updated guidance related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The article identified three defining characteristics of the pandemic, including its speed and scale, severity, and disruption to society and economies.

The goals of the publication were to:

  • Guide countries as they transition from widespread transmission to situations with low-level or no transition
  • Highlight the support that will be necessary from the international community

As suggested in the quote, the article identified roles for all sectors of society. Placing the impetus on national governments for coordination and planning of each country’s response, the report discussed:

  • The importance of engaging all sectors of society and maintaining trust through accurate and truthful communication
  • Limiting spread through identification, testing and isolation of cases
  • Providing effective medical care for those infected with COVID-19, while also maintaining essential health services

The report described six criteria that will need to be met in order to sustain low-level or no transmission:

  1. New cases don’t exceed the capacity of the healthcare system, and they are sporadic or occurring only in small clusters.
  2. Detection and isolation of all cases, regardless of severity (as compared with detection and treatment of only the most severe cases). This shift relies on meeting defined criteria for detection, testing, isolation and quarantine.
  3. Minimization of outbreak risks in high-vulnerability settings, such as healthcare and residential care facilities.
  4. Preventive measures are implemented at workplaces.
  5. Systems are in place to quickly detect imported cases among travelers.
  6. Community-level engagement is in place, and the importance of everyone’s role in stemming transmission is understood and acted upon.

The report also addressed responses in countries with limited resources and weaker healthcare systems; coordination of responses at the global level, including surveillance requirements; issues related to misinformation during the pandemic; global supply chain management; and coordination of research and knowledge sharing efforts.

Read or download the complete 18-page report.

Materials in this section are updated as new information and vaccines become available. The Vaccine Education Center staff regularly reviews materials for accuracy.

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