Statement from the Global Preparedness Monitoring Board on the Outbreak of 2019-novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)


30 January 2020, Geneva – The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board (GPMB) convened on 27 January 2020 to discuss the current outbreak of 2019-nCoV which was first detected in Wuhan, China and is now quickly spreading internationally. The Board commends the speed of the response so far by countries and the World Health Organization (WHO), the transparency of China in sharing information and the genome sequence of the virus, and the strong collaboration between China and affected countries and with WHO. The Board however is concerned that many countries remain unprepared and urges leaders in all countries to take immediate action to ensure that they have the necessary capacities in place.

The Board recommends the following urgent actions:

1) Countries, institutions, communities and partners must ensure that all relevant information about the outbreak is shared openly and rapidly, to support the response in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR (2005);
2) All countries and local governments, including those that have not yet been affected, must urgently dedicate resources to building their essential preparedness capacities (as described in the IHR (2005) to prevent, detect, inform about and respond to the outbreak, to strengthen their health systems, and are urged to follow WHO technical guidance for control measures, in line with the IHR(2005);
3) The research and development community, including national research institutions and related dedicated efforts in the public and private sectors, must urgently accelerate the coordinated development of vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics against the coronavirus. The private sector and initiatives as the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) should use the vaccine research they are supporting for other coronaviruses, such a MERS-CoV, for exploring the development of vaccines against 2019-nCoV. Prompt and unrestricted sharing of coronavirus specimens and clinical samples is essential to advancing this research and development, early detection and the global public health response. To ensure rapid access to emerging findings, all peer-reviewed research publications relevant to the outbreak should be made open access immediately, and research findings relevant to the outbreak should be shared rapidly with WHO. Countries and the international community should expand understanding of potential trajectories of the epidemic and its social-economic impact;
4) Countries must support and enable WHO’s central role in the response, including by fully and sustainably (sic) financing WHO’s preparedness and response activities through voluntary contributions and replenishment of the WHO Contingency Fund for Emergencies, and to strengthen WHO’s communication capacity. WHO should lead the global response through effective action to minimize risks of transmission, support care for people who are infected, share critical risk and event information, counter misinformation, engage with governments to support their preparedness and response efforts, and facilitate expert epidemiologic and other technical assistance to countries;
5) All donors, including governments, the World Bank, Regional Development Banks, the GFATM, and Gavi should financially support lower resourced countries, inclusive of using the Pandemic Emergency Facility and other existing channels. Donors and development partners should prioritize financial and technical support to low- and middle-income countries/communities at-risk to assist them in building these capacities, notably to improve early detection and control of the virus, limit the risk of transmission, and their ability to respond. Collaboration should be strengthened across national and sub-national public health agencies, and across the public and private sectors to ensure availability of testing and supplies of personal protective equipment;
6) Ensuring that national and international communities are properly informed and trust the response is crucial to controlling the outbreak. Countries, institutions, the media and WHO should regularly and proactively communicate factual information about the outbreak, how to prepare for and prevent infection, in a transparent, timely, accurate and open manner, and should find ways to mobilize and engage local organizations and communities in all stages of planning and implementation of response activities.

About the GPMB
As an independent monitoring and advocacy body, the GPMB urges political action to prepare for and mitigate the effects of global health emergencies. Co-convened by the World Bank Group and the WHO, the GPMB works independently to provide expert assessments and recommendations on the state of global preparedness. The opinions and recommendations of the GPMB are those of the Board and do not necessarily represent the views of the World Bank Group and WHO.
The GPMB A World At Risk annual report: