IEA’S STATEMENT ON THE NOVEL CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) PANDEMIC
The Council of the International Epidemiology Association, its affiliate bodies and members have viewed with concern the rapidly evolving situation with the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since the onset of the outbreak in December 2019, this disease has affected 162 countries and territories (as of 17/03/2020) with over 184,000 people affected and 7,000 deaths. With countries at various response stages of anticipation, early detection, containment, and mitigation, we commend the efforts of the WHO, various national governments, non-governmental organizations, health workers and advocates in addressing this health crisis.
COVID-19 represents an unprecedented danger to human health, social cohesion, economic stability and global peace and prosperity. Control efforts are uniquely challenged by the high rate of transmission by infected but asymptomatic individuals, limited capacity for testing, and intensive care requirements for serious cases. Nonetheless we must not fail to state the positive news that governments are beginning to make progress in the delivery of evidence-based interventions.
At this stage of the global pandemic it is vital to eschew fear. We must refute rumors while educating our communities on the value of social distancing, hand hygiene and cough etiquette in limiting spread of this infection. Within communities, efforts to expand access to robust screening services and provide safe equitable treatment options for sick individuals must be prioritized. The IEA will continue to support global and national efforts to understand and control this outbreak. Our members, as frontline professionals on preparedness, planning, response and advocacy efforts around the globe, play an invaluable role in global disease control efforts. We encourage many more of our members to get involved with surveillance, case and control tracing, infection prevention and control, risk communication and community engagement amongst other key areas of need. The IEA Council will continue to consult and explore mechanisms to support relevant stakeholders in this pandemic response.