On January 30, the WHO Director-General declared the 2019-nCoV a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. By February 10, more than 43,000 cases and 1,000 deaths had been confirmed in at least 25 countries-surpassing the scale of the 2003 SARS-CoV outbreak, which affected 8,000 people. The greatest risk for contagion is in locations without adequate infection prevention and control measures in place, and without protective equipment and the capacity to isolate suspect cases.
International Medical Corps is currently prioritizing five high-risk countries in its 2019-nCoV response planning: the Philippines, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Nigeria and South Sudan. Each has limited public health capacity, act as transit hubs, and/or have other ongoing disease outbreaks. International Medical Corps will be providing training, pre-positioning of critical protective supplies, and mobile infectious disease units for screening, identification and isolation.
For more than 35 years, International Medical Corps has worked in communities around the world to promote infectious disease prevention, control and elimination. Leveraging our expertise with disease surveillance and our recent experience with the 2014-2015 and 2018-2020 Ebola outbreaks in Africa, International Medical Corps has designed an approach that not only provides immediate relief, but also strengthens health systems so that they can respond effectively to future outbreaks.