The last few weeks have witnessed heightened awareness of the threat from the outbreak 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The World Bank Group last week announced it would make available a package of $12 billion — 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.
Not a day passes without us being bombarded by the rapidly evolving medical literature 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?
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak has already exacted a high cost in human life 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.
As COVID-19 reaches more than 60 countries, the World Bank Group is making available an 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.