Can technology help mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on education systems in Europe and Central Asia?

The last few weeks have witnessed heightened awareness of the threat from the blog1-herooutbreak of COVID-19 (coronavirus). As the virus spreads around the world, we also need to understand what it means for the education systems of Europe and Central Asia.

With the need to contain the virus, many countries are implementing measures to reduce gatherings of large crowds. Our schools are not immune to these actions, nor to the spread of the virus. Many countries have now implemented measures in their education systems – from banning gatherings to the temporary closing of schools.

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Korea’s response to COVID-19: Early lessons in tackling the pandemic

The Republic of Korea was one of the first countries to tackle the COVID-19 crisis. Facing a rapid, exponential increase in infections after the first positive case w

Figure 1. Coronavirus cases in Korea (Source: Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.)

as identified on January 20, the country took decisive action to contain the virus. Although the total number of cases is high, daily increases have been declining steadily from a peak of just above 900 in late February to around 100 by the second week of March (Figure 1). Recovered cases now far outnumber new cases, and deaths have been kept just above 100 as of this writing.

Figure 1.  Coronavirus cases in Korea

Source: Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters.

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World Bank Group Increases COVID-19 Response to $14 Billion To Help Sustain Economies, Protect Jobs

Focus on private sector and workers spearheaded by IFC to mitigate financial and economic impact of crisis

WASHINGTON, March 17, 2020 — The World Bank and IFC’s Boards of Directors approved today an increased $14 billion package of fast-track financing to assist companies and countries in their efforts to prevent, detect and respond to the rapid spread of COVID-19. The package will strengthen national systems for public health preparedness, including for disease containment, diagnosis, and treatment, and support the private sector.

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Coronavirus and the ‘Pangolin Effect’: Increased exposure to wildlife poses health, biosafety and global security risks

Everything is connected. shutterstock_794728702_resized

Using the theory of chaos, when a butterfly flaps its wings in New Mexico it has the power to cause a hurricane in China. But there’s hardly anything of the butterfly effect’s randomness in the dominos that keep falling after the emergence of COVID-19 (coronavirus). The explanation that is emerging is in fact more familiar: how human beings’ connected actions can result in dramatic consequences.

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It’s time we invest in healthy food systems for a safer world

The World Bank Group last week announced it would make available a package of $12 Meta-chicken-COVID-corornavirusbillion — an unprecedented level of financing to help developing countries and businesses cope with the health and economic impacts caused by COVID-19. Much of that support will naturally be reactive, financing immediate measures designed to strengthen our response to a brand-new threat. But some of the financing will also be preventative — as it should be, if we are to learn our lessons from the past and strengthen our collective hand before the next bug hits.

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Coronavirus: Reflections of an epidemiologist and public health practitioner

Not a day passes without us being bombarded by the rapidly evolving medical literature 1107952389_b03648b09d_c(002)and media on the hitherto unknown COVID-19. Rightfully so, as we now have an outbreak with more than 100,000 cases confirmed globally.

Yet, I cannot help but wonder how the general public is dealing with such an onslaught of information, if I, as a trained physician, epidemiologist and a global public health practitioner, find it too much to take in and digest. How do we expect a lay person to sift through it all, separate the chaff from the grain, avoid fear mongering  – No, you do not get COVID-19 if you receive a package from China, or eat in a Chinese restaurant –  and stick with the most relevant information and the essentials for behavioral change? This is ultimately what counts the most:, arming people with the right messaging and instructions for compliance with the science-based best practice. With local community transmission in about 20 countries across several regions of the globe, we must ask ourselves could we have done better? 

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Newsletter March 2020: Development in Light of a Pandemic

NL4WorldBank March edition of the newsletter is out!newletter

The newsletter ‘Development in Light of a Pandemic‘ headlines with the cancellation of the IMF and World Bank Group Spring Meetings. “Out of precaution World Bank Group events up to May have either been postponed or cancelled. We are still unclear on how the World Bank Group will proceed with events after May. In this blog post we selected the largest event messaging concerning COVID-19, The events include: 2020 IMF/World Bank Group Spring Meetings, Fragility Forum 2020, and the Land and Poverty conference.”

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Swift action can help developing countries limit economic harm of coronavirus

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has already exacted a high cost in human blog_leaderlife and has been recognized for what it is—a global health emergency. As the virus spreads around the globe, the question now is whether lives can be protected and economic harm can be contained.

We know from history that when the global economy faces a common threat, quick, coordinated, and decisive action makes all the difference. That is beginning to happen. Several countries have announced stimulus programs, many have cut interest rates, and both the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund have unveiled massive financial-support packages to help countries overcome the health crisis and limit the economic damage.

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Statement by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and World Bank Group President David Malpass on the 2020 IMF-World Bank Group Spring Meetings

Out of precaution World Bank Group events up to May have either been postponed or image2865094cancelled. We are still unclear on how the World Bank Group will proceed with events after May. In this blog post we selected the largest event messaging concerning COVID-19, The events include: 2020 IMF/World Bank Group Spring Meetings, Fragility Forum 2020, and the Land and Poverty conference.

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World Bank Group Announces Up to $12 Billion Immediate Support for COVID-19 Country Response

As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available IDAan initial package of up to $12 billion in immediate support to assist countries coping with the health and economic impacts of the global outbreak. This financing is designed to help member countries take effective action to respond to and, where possible, lessen the tragic impacts posed by the COVID-19 (coronavirus).

Through this new fast track package, the World Bank Group will help developing countries strengthen health systems, including better access to health services to safeguard people from the epidemic, strengthen disease surveillance, bolster public health interventions, and work with the private sector to reduce the impact on economies. The financial package, with financing drawn from across IDA, IBRD and IFC, will be globally coordinated to support country-based responses.

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