Toward the end of March, the worldwide number of positive COVID-19 cases boomed, with the United States and several European countries leading the list. This pandemic is indeed an international concern, and everyone is scared.
Map by: Johns Hopkins University
GDLN and KDI School would like to play an active part in helping other nations and resolving the problem globally. To this end, on April 2nd, 2020, at 3 pm KST, they held the second session of their Global Sharing on the Impact and Responses to COVID-19: Sharing Experiences from Asia-Pacific with African Countries.
Since the first session, on March 16th, 2020, there has been a growing demand for these discussions by global experts in order to find the best ways to combat the spread of the global pandemic. The series focuses on knowledge that can be gained from Asia-Pacific countries and the preparedness of African countries as they brace themselves for the impact of the virus.
With Professor Hai-young Yun of KDI School as moderator, five countries presented their findings for between 10 and 15 minutes each, answering questions from viewers toward the end of the session.
Professor Leo Poon of Public Health Laboratory Sciences and Professor Malik Peiris of the Virology Department at the University of Hong Kong presented on their efforts to establish a WHO Reference Laboratory for COVID-19 and provide the diagnostic testing capacity to other countries.
Professor Peiris further discussed, in addressing queries from viewers, different methods to flatten the curve depending on a country’s situation. He highlighted that policies on using masks must prioritize health workers, followed by people with respiratory problems and lastly, the general public, depending on the mask supply available.
After the Hong Kong presentation, Singapore’s Dr. Jayant Menon of ISEAS Singapore discussed the global economic impact of COVID-19 and its implications for developing countries. He mentioned several countries, such as Malaysia and the Philippines, that took the risk of implementing lockdowns which may have a significant effect on their economies.
Tanzania presented on current measures they are taking to prevent the virus. Doctors from the Coronavirus National Taskforce highlighted that while they feel they are prepared, they would like to revisit their strategy and move into a community-level response, as there is now evidence of community transmission of the virus in the country.
Dr. Sapumal Dhanapala of WHO Sri Lanka gave updates on conditions around the world and reiterated the need for preventive measures such as social distancing and mass testing. He said that while some countries are in the process of formulating a vaccine to cure the virus, surveillance and early preventive measures must be strengthened.
Lastly, Professor Kamalini Lokuge of Humanitarian Health Research Initiative, Australian National University, gave a quick update on current conditions in Australia and requested that her co-presenters provide further suggestions on how to battle the virus.
The third session of this series will take place on April 17th (KST) and will focus on countries from Latin America. Be on the lookout for further announcements via email.