WHO Urges Every Country To Prepare For COVID-19 As Disease Continues To Spread; Outbreak Could Impact Development, Humanitarian Efforts, Experts Warn

AP: World harshens its virus response as epidemic worsens by day
“Saudi Arabia cut travel to Islam’s holiest sites, South Korea toughened penalties for those breaking quarantines, and airports across Latin America looked for signs of sick passengers as a new virus troubled places around the globe. With the number of sick and dead rising, the crisis gave way to political and diplomatic rows, concern that bordered on panic in some quarters, and a sense that no part of the world was immune…” (Sedensky et al., 2/28).

CNBC: WHO warns failure to prepare for coronavirus now ‘could be a fatal mistake’
“World Health Organization officials warned on Thursday that member nations need to prepare for COVID-19’s arrival after seven countries in the last day reported their first cases. ‘Every country must be ready for its first case,’ Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of WHO, said during a press briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Geneva. ‘No country should assume it won’t get cases. That could be a fatal mistake. This virus does not respect borders’…” (Lovelace, 2/27).

Devex: Conferences canceled: Coronavirus’ impact on development efforts
“As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, so too does the number of international conferences and events opting to relocate, postpone, or even hang up the lanyards altogether. Development professionals say that while safety is the top priority, the cancellations could impact work being done in the sector…” (Root, 2/28).

New Humanitarian: How the coronavirus outbreak could hit refugees and migrants
“A surge in coronavirus cases outside China has raised concerns the outbreak could be particularly devastating for vulnerable refugee and migrant populations in countries hobbled by conflict…” (Reidy, 2/27).

Reuters: Coronavirus outbreak ‘getting bigger’ after Nigeria case: WHO
“Coronavirus outbreak is ‘getting bigger,’ the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday after Nigeria confirmed sub-Saharan Africa’s first case, reiterating its warning that the virus could reach most ‘if not all countries’…” (Nebehay, 2/28).

Additional coverage of the coronavirus’s global spread is available from The Atlantic, Bloomberg, CNBC, The Hill, The Lancet, New York Times (2) (3), NPR, Reuters, Salon, STAT (2), U.N. News, and Xinhua.