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Statement on the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic at the Fifth Meeting of the Emergency Committee of the International Health Regulations (2005)



The fifth meeting of the Emergency Committee on Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) convened by the Director-General of WHO in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR) (2005) was held on Thursday, October 29, 2020, from 12:30 to 16:05, Geneva Time (CEST).

Meeting record

The members and consultants of the emergency meeting are convened via a video conference.

The Director-General welcomed the Committee, emphasized the global progress and challenges in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed gratitude to the Committee for its consistent support and suggestions.

Representatives from the Legal Department and the Compliance, Risk Management and Ethics Department (CRE) introduced their roles and responsibilities to the members. The Ethics Officer of CRE provided members and consultants with an overview of the WHO declaration of interests process. Members and consultants are aware of their personal responsibility, that is, to disclose to the WHO in a timely manner any personal, professional, financial, intellectual or commercial interests that may cause a perceived or direct conflict of interest. They are also reminded of their responsibility to maintain the confidentiality of meeting discussions and committee work. Every member present was investigated and no conflict of interest was found.

The secretariat forwarded the meeting to the chairman, Professor Didier Housen. Professor Hou Sen also welcomed the committee and reviewed the goals and agenda of the meeting.

The Assistant Director-General of WHO in charge of emergency response, emergency preparedness and international health regulations gave an overview of the current situation and introduced the implementation of the “Interim Recommendations”

; on August 1, 2020. The WHO continues to assess the global risk of the COVID-19 pandemic as high.

The Committee highly appreciated the leadership and activities of WHO in the global response. The Committee particularly appreciated WHO’s key role in developing evidence-based guidelines and recommendations; providing technical assistance and operational support to countries; communicating clear messages and resolving misinformation; and convening groups to test and use the COVID-19 Tool (ACT) accelerator . The Committee commended WHO for its ongoing efforts to strengthen national, regional and global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After discussions, the committee agreed that the pandemic still constitutes a very big event, and that it has brought public health risks to other countries through international transmission, and that a coordinated international response is still needed. Therefore, the Committee believes that the COVID-19 pandemic is still a public health emergency of international concern and has provided recommendations to the Director-General.

The Director General determined that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to constitute PHEIC. He accepted the committee’s recommendations to WHO and issued the committee’s recommendations to the State party as interim recommendations in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005).

The Director-General may convene an emergency committee within three months at his discretion. The Director General thanked the Committee for its work.

Recommendations to the WHO Secretariat

Leadership and coordination

1. Continue to coordinate global and regional multilateral organizations, partners and networks, and share best practices in response to the pandemic.

2. Provide States parties with a mechanism, including templates and procedures, to report on national progress in implementing interim recommendations; collect, analyze, and provide regular updates to the Committee.

Evidence-based response strategy
3. Continue to provide evidence-based guidance for COVID-19 preparation and response. The guidelines should include sustainable long-term response strategies, mitigation methods for different levels of transmission, sound risk management and pandemic response indicators, a meta-analysis of the public health effectiveness of COVID-19 response measures and social measures, and lessons learned Lessons include ongoing comments.

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4. Continue to convene multidisciplinary experts to reach a consensus on a consistent language and further explain: all the potential modes of transmission and virulence of SARS-CoV-2; the severity of COVID-19 risk factors and epidemiology; and the global pandemic dynamics Amazing diversity.

5. Continue to carry out inter-departmental cooperation to understand the origin of SARS-CoV-2, the role/impact of animals, and regularly provide the latest information on international research results.

6. Continue to work with partners to improve mathematical models. These models can provide policy decisions on how to best mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Monitoring and contact tracking
7. Continue to work with partners and networks to provide guidance, tools and training to support countries in strengthening their strong public health surveillance, comprehensive contact tracing and classification investigations.

8. Encourage and support countries to understand and report their epidemiology and related indicators, including using the existing COVID-19 flu sentinel surveillance system.

Risk communication and community involvement
9. Continue to work with partners to respond to the ongoing information epidemic and provide guidance on community mobilization to support effective public health and social measures.

Diagnosis, treatment and vaccines
10. Continue to support the development and fair access to diagnostic, safe and effective therapeutic agents and vaccines through the use of the COVID-19 Tool (ACT) accelerator; continue to work with all partners of ACT Accelerator to provide countries with a clearer process to enable them Access to diagnoses, treatments and vaccines in a fair and timely manner, including in humanitarian settings.

11. By providing guidance, tools and technical assistance in key areas such as vaccination strategy, vaccine acceptance and demand, training, supply and logistics (with a focus on the cold chain), as well as strengthening support for countries to prepare for the introduction of COVID-19 vaccine, and Monitor intake and vaccine safety.

Hygiene measures related to international transportation
12. Continue to work with partners to update and review evidence-based international travel guidelines in accordance with the International Health Regulations (2005). The guidelines should focus on effective, risk-based and coordinated methods (including the targeted use of diagnostic and quarantine methods), which should take into account the level of transmission, the response capacity of the country of origin and destination, and travel-related considerations.

Basic health services
13. Work with partners to support countries in strengthening their basic health services, with a special focus on mental health, public health prevention and control systems, and other social impacts, and prepare and respond to concurrent epidemics such as seasonal influenza. Special attention should be paid to fragile environments.

Interim recommendations to the State party

Leadership and coordination

1. Continue to share best practices with the World Health Organization, including in-action reviews, and learn lessons to reduce the resurgence of COVID-19; In accordance with the requirements of the International Health Regulations, invest in the implementation of national action plans to achieve Continuous disaster preparedness and response capabilities.

2. Report to WHO on the progress in implementing the Interim Recommendations, especially major achievements, milestones and obstacles. This information will enable countries, WHO, partners and committees to continue to make informed decisions as the pandemic develops.

Evidence-based response strategy
3. Avoid politicization or complacency in pandemic response, which will have a negative impact on local, national, regional and global response efforts. National strategies and local preparation and response activities should be driven by science, data and experience, and a whole-society approach should be adopted to enable all sectors to participate and make it possible.

4. Implement dynamic risk management methods and use appropriate indicators to inform time-bound, evidence-based public health and social measures.

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5. Conduct research and share information about transmission, including the role of aerosols; the presence of SARS-CoV-2 in animal populations and its potential impact; and potential sources of pollution (such as frozen products) to pass preventive measures and international cooperation To mitigate potential risks.

Monitoring and contact tracking
6. Continue efforts to strengthen the public health surveillance system and invest in a well-trained workforce for active case detection, comprehensive contact tracking and cluster investigation.

7. Continue to report to WHO in a timely and consistent manner all recommended indicators on the epidemiology and severity of COVID-19, response measures and concurrent outbreaks through platforms such as GISRS to enhance global response to the evolution of the pandemic To understanding.

Risk communication and community participation
8. Engage and empower individuals and communities to increase their confidence in COVID-19 response measures and promote continued compliance with public health and social measures based on the principles of solidarity and human rights; monitor and resolve rumors and misinformation.

Diagnosis, treatment and vaccines
9. Establish a national multidisciplinary working group, use the COVID-19 vaccine introduction readiness assessment tool (VIRAT) to assess progress, and formulate a national deployment and vaccination plan, which can be used as an overall operational plan for the introduction of COVID-19 vaccine. Special emphasis should be placed on communication with the community to prepare for COVID-19 vaccination.

Hygiene measures related to international transportation
10. In accordance with Article 43 of the International Health Regulations (2005), measures applicable to international travel are regularly reconsidered, and information and reasons for measures that seriously interfere with international traffic will continue to be provided to WHO. Ensure that measures affecting international transportation (including the targeted use of diagnostics and quarantine) are risk-based, evidence-based, consistent, proportionate, and time-bound.

11. Continue to strengthen the capacity of entry points to manage the potential risks of cross-border transmission and promote the tracking of international contacts.

Basic health services
12. Maintain basic health services with sufficient funds, materials and human resources; strengthen the health system to deal with the impact of pandemics, concurrent disease outbreaks and other emergencies on mental health.


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