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WHO has called on countries to ensure that usual immunization is maintained wherever possible and surveillance for vaccine-preventable diseases is not disrupted during the ongoing pandemic.

Public health systems are coming under severe strain as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Countries must also continue to focus on other health emergencies and make progress against diseases such as malaria or poliomyelitis (polio). A new analysis on malaria supports the call to minimize disruptions to malaria prevention and treatment services during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Some governments have suggested that the detection of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, could serve as the basis for an “immunity passport” or “risk-free certificate”, there is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.

New online course released on the management of COVID-19 in aviation A new, interactive e-learning course titled “Operational considerations for managing COVID-19 cases/outbreak in aviation” has been developed based on the guidance document of the same name. It can be downloaded on personal computers and mobile phones and complements the COVID-19 at Points of Entry course "Management of ill travelers at points of entry in the context of the COVID-19 outbreak". 

The Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network (GOARN) has launched a GOARN COVID-19 Knowledge hub. The hub is designed as a central repository of quality public health information, guidance, tools and webinars which can be accessed freely at any point. WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, in his regular media briefing yesterday, cautioned that “we have a long way to go. This virus will be with us for a long time”. He added that “the world cannot go back to the way things were. There must be a “new normal” – a world that is healthier, safer and better prepared”.  

WHO is deeply saddened at the death of a member of personnel during a security incident in Rakhine district of Myanmar, who was transporting COVID19 surveillance samples in support of the Ministry of Health and Sports. WHO condemns targeting of health workers involved in the COVID-19 response.

As of 21 April, over 100 countries have joined the Solidarity Trial to evaluate therapeutics for COVID-19. The trial will compare four treatment options against local standard of care, to assess their relative effectiveness against COVID-19. 

The urgent need for a COVID-19 vaccine underscores the pivotal role immunizations play in protecting lives and economies. Dr Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO Regional Director for Europe, marking the European Immunization Week 2020, stressed ‘we must not, especially now, let down our guard on immunizations’. WHO and UNICEF have released a joint statement to mark European Immunization Week 2020. 

WHO has provided over US$ 400 000 dollars of medical supplies and equipment to the Ministry of Health of the Kurdistan region of Iraq to support response efforts in fighting COVID-19.

In the ‘Subject in Focus’ below, WHO presents data on COVID-19 cases by age and sex. This data is based on nearly 750 000 WHO case reporting forms received from 113 countries, territories and areas.

Globally, the number of reported confirmed cases exceeded 2 million. 

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