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Novel Coronavirus Preparedness and Action Report – Pacific Island Countries and Territories

WHO Summarized PoE measures and travel restrictions endorsed in Pacific Island Countries.

Corona Virus Global situation overview statistics & facts

As of 4 February 2020, there have been 17,391 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) reported globally (see Table 1).1

Corona Virus confirmed cases by country

Table 1. Countries, territories or areas with reported confirmed Corona Virus cases of 2019-nCoV, 4 February 2020

* Confirmed cases in China include cases confirmed in Hong Kong SAR (15 confirmed cases), Macau SAR (8 confirmed cases) and Taipei (10 confirmed cases).

1. WHO use only officially confirmed data which may differ from data published on other sources.

Pacific Island Countries and Territories

To date, there have been no confirmed cases of nCoV reported in Pacific Island Countries or Territories (PICs).
WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support (DPS) continues to work with Pacific Ministries of Health and partners to implement public health measures to reduce the risk of importation through strengthening health screenings at points of entry (PoE) and through reinforcing public health capacities to rapidly detect and respond to cases should they be imported. Individual PICs have endorsed travel advisories and enacted PoE measures and travel restrictions (see Table 2).

Coronavirus travel restrictions to Pacific Islands and territories

Table 2. Summarized point of entry (PoE) measures and travel restrictions endorsed in PICs, 4 February 2020

corona virus confirmed cases by country 2020-1

Preparedness and Response Actions

WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support has developed a Pacific Action Plan for 2019-nCoV Preparedness and Response – an initial six-month plan. The objectives of this plan are: 1) to ensure a coordinated approach to 2019-nCoV preparedness and response across the PICs; 2) to ensure effective 2019-nCoV early detection and surveillance at all levels; 3) to strengthen preparedness and response capacities for the management of 2019-nCoV outbreaks in high-risk PICs; 4) to minimise morbidity and mortality of any cases.

Leadership and coordination

• WHO is leading the coordinated response for 2019-nCoV in the Pacific, working in coordination with Pacific Governments and Ministries of Health, and a wide range of partners, including the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the International, Organization for Migration (IOM), New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT), the Pacific Community (SPC), UNICEF, the United States Centres of Disease Control and Prevention (US CDC).

• An Incident Management Team (IMT) has been activated within WHO’s Division of Pacific Technical Support (DPS) to support 2019-nCoV preparedness and response actions in the Pacific. Technical working groups have been created to coordinate support in key areas, including surveillance, risk communication, case management, laboratory, logistics and supply chain management, working closely with other partners engaged in these areas.

Risk communication

• WHO continues to support PICs to implement risk communication strategies at PoE that complement existing entry controls and support early reporting of potentially imported cases.

• WHO continues to provide support for increased public and risk communication in several PICs, including the development of information for outbound and inbound travellers, as well as public health announcements.

• WHO continues to support the development, translation and printing of information products in various languages, including English, French, Pacific languages and Mandarin.

• WHO is continuing to undertake routine country and regional media and public sentiment monitoring to address new and emerging issues, including potential discrimination or issues that have the potential to undermine public health measures.

• WHO is supporting PICs to systematize their risk communication function, with a focus on developing 2019-nCOV risk communication plans for both preparedness and response.

Risk assessment

• WHO has assessed the 2019-nCoV risks to be very high for China, high at the regional level and high at the global level.

• At Regional and Global levels, the overall risk is assessed as High due to:

– high level of concern of additional international spread;
– spread of cases to 23 countries outside China and human-to-human transmission documented in 11 countries, most with significant international travel connections;
– travel into and out of China, connecting China to all parts of the world;
– challenges in diagnosing cases due to nonspecific symptoms and the possibility of co-circulation of other respiratory pathogens (such as influenza and respiratory syncytial virus);
– delays in confirmation due to limited testing capacity;
– many countries reporting alerts/signals related to 2019-nCoV;

• WHO continues to undertake risk assessments for the Pacific, taking the following into consideration: 1) risk of importation, 2) risk of local transmission, and 3) risk of national health capacities being overwhelmed. Risk assessment is a highly dynamic process, and WHO will continue to support ongoing country-level risk assessment with Pacific Ministries of Health.

• Although international spread of nCoV is ongoing, many PICs are now less accessible due to expanded travel restrictions. However, it is possible that infected travellers entered the region prior to the enforcement of travel restrictions while in the incubation period of disease, or that they may still enter, as travel restrictions and PoE measures may not be 100% effective.

Supply and logistics:

• WHO is working with PICs to determine essential stocks required for both PoE and health facility use, and to facilitate urgent supply delivery where needed. Buffer/contingency stocks are being planned.

• Some supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) are currently being transported from Dubai with the shipment due to arrive in PICs in the next 1–2 weeks.

• Globally, PPE supply is currently in high demand, which may impact availability of supplies in the immediate term.

Country support

• WHO staff across Pacific WHO offices have received many requests for information and support from Ministries of Health and other government agencies as they prepare for the possibility of nCoV importation. Several requests are received daily. WHO is tracking all requests received at the DPS level and coordinating the response with partner organisations to avoid duplication of efforts and to ensure the most rapid response possible. Note that a single reported request may involve several activities and ongoing support.

• Since the most recent sitrep, WHO staff have been deployed to Kiribati, Palau and Tonga to support 2019-nCoV preparedness, with a particular focus on infection prevention and control, clinical case management planning and training, and overall coordination and response planning.

Current priority actions for 2019-nCov preparedness (week of 3 February 2020)

● Continue to provide 2019-nCoV coordination and information support with Ministries of Health and partners across the Pacific.

● Collaborate closely with regional partners to identify and facilitate areas for support working closely together to ensure rapid and non-duplicative action.

● Determine essential stock required and facilitate urgent supply delivery where needed.

● Support and facilitate education and training sessions to strengthen response capacities among clinical and non-clinical staff based in PICs.

● Develop regular situation reports for 2019-nCoV in the Pacific (weekly).

● Continue to track and respond to PIC requests for assistance, including technical expertise, communications/risk communication, logistics, supply and stockpiles, HR and other required inputs.

● Continue to support PICs to consider and implement global guidance for 2019-nCoV.

● Provide up-to-date guidance on specimen referral pathways to regional reference laboratories.

● Continue to provide up-to-date technical guidance on key response elements.


WHO has developed an online course to provide a general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronavirus: https://openwho.org/courses/introduction-to-ncov
For more information about nCoV, the WHO response and situation updates, please visit: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/situation-reports
For up-to-date nCoV case numbers and mapping of geographical distribution, please visit:
Send inquiries to Pacific2019nCoV@who.int

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