WHO,Event Information Site for IHR National Focal

Date of Information Posted:17 February 2020

HIGHLIGHTS (15 February to 17 February 2020)  

FEBRUARY 17, 2020 Ø No new countries reported cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours. 

Ø From today, WHO will be reporting all confirmed cases, including both laboratory-confirmed as previously reported, and those reported as clinically diagnosed (currently only applicable to Hubei province, China). From 13 February through 16 February, we reported only laboratory confirmed cases for Hubei province as mentioned in the situation report published on 13 February. The change in reporting is now shown in the figures. This accounts for the apparent large increase in cases compared to prior situation reports.

Ø Based on the evidence currently available about COVID-19, WHO has developed guidance documents for managing public health events at Points of Entry and mass gatherings. These are posted on WHO COVID-19 Points of Entry and Mass Gatherings website: (http://who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/points-of-entry-and-mass-gatherings).

FEBRUARY 16, 2020 Ø A third death of a COVID-19 patient has been reported outside of China. This individual was a tourist from China visiting France. 

Ø Studies to assess the epidemiology and clinical characteristics of COVID-19 cases in different settings are therefore critical to furthering our understanding of this virus and associated disease. Several early investigation master protocols or master forms are available for countries to use. More information can be found here: http://who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/early-investigations

FEBRUARY 15, 2020 Ø Egypt reported its first confirmed case of COVID-19. This is the second country in the WHO EMRO region to confirm a case, and the first reported case from the African continent. WHO was informed by the Egyptian Ministry of Health and Population. 

Ø In a speech to the Munich Security Conference, the WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, described aspects of the COVID-19 outbreak situation that WHO finds encouraging, and areas of concern.

Situation in Numbers:

Total and New Cases in Last 24 hours


Globally 71,429 Confirmed 2,162
China 70,653 Confirmed 2,051
1,772 Deaths 106+
Outside of China 794 Confirmed 111
25 Countries  
3 deaths  

 WHO Risk Assessment:

China Very High
Regional Level High
Global Level High

 Figure 1. Countries, territories or areas with reported confirmed cases of COVID-19, 17 February 2020

*The situation report includes information provided by national authorities as of10 AM Central European Time.

+ As reported by China


Table 1. Confirmed and Suspected cases of COVID-19 acute respiratory disease reported by provinces, regions and cities in China, 17 February 2020

* ‘Confirmed’ Cases include both laboratory confirmed and clinically diagnosed cases (currently only applicable to Hubei province, China)

 Table 2. Countries, Territories or areas outside China with reported laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases and deaths. Datas as of 17 February 2020

*Case classifications are based on WHO case definitions for COVID-19.

+Location of transmission is classified based on WHO analysis of available official data, and may be subject to reclassification as additional data become available.

‡The exposure for 3 cases occurred outside of Republic of Korea. §The exposure for 1 case occurred outside of Malaysia. One patient also had travel history to China, but exposure likely occurred after return to Malaysia. **The exposure for 6 cases occurred outside of the United Kingdom. ††The exposure for 2 cases occurred outside of Spain. ‡‡Cases identified on a cruise ship currently in Japanese territorial waters

Figure 2: Epidemic curve of COVID-19 cases (n=210) identified outside of China, by date of onset of symptoms and travel history, 17 February 2020

Note: for figure 2: Of the 794 cases reported outside China, 26 were detected while apparently asymptomatic. For the remaining 768 cases, information on date of onset is available only for the 210 cases presented in the epidemiologic curve.

Figure 3: Epidemic curve of COVID-19 cases (n=794) identified outside of China, by date of reporting and travel history, 17 February 2020



WHO’s strategic objectives for this response are to:

  • Limit human to human transmission including, reducing secondary infections among close contacts and health care workers, preventing transmission amplification events, and preventing further international spread from China*;
  • Identify, isolate and care for patients early, including providing optimized care for infected patients;
  • Identify and reduce transmission from the animal source;
  • Address crucial unknowns and about clinical severity, extent of transmission and infection, treatment options, and accelerate the development of diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines;
  • Communicate critical risk and event information to all communities and counter misinformation;
  • Minimize social and economic impact through multisectoral partnerships.

*This can be achieved through a combination of public health measures, such as rapid identification, diagnosis and management of the cases, identification and follow up of the contacts, infection prevention and control in healthcare settings, implementation of health measures for travellers, awareness raising in the population, risk communication.


  • All technical guidance documents regarding COVID-19 are available at WHO webpage.
  • WHO is working closely with International Air Transport Association (IATA) and have jointly developed a guidance document to provide advice to cabin crew and airport workers, based on country queries. The guidance can be found on the IATA webpage.
  • WHO has developed a protocol for the investigation of early cases (the “First Few X (FFX) Cases and contact investigation protocol for 2019-novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) infection”). The protocol is designed to gain an early understanding of the key clinical, epidemiological and virological characteristics of the first cases of COVID19 infection detected in any individual country, to inform the development and updating of public health guidance to manage cases and reduce potential spread and impact of infection.
  • WHO has been in regular and direct contact with Member States where cases have been reported. WHO is also informing other countries about the situation and providing support as requested.
  • WHO has developed interim guidance for laboratory diagnosis, advice on the use of masks during home care and in health care settings in the context of the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak, clinical management, infection prevention and control in health care settings, home care for patients with suspected novel coronavirus, risk communication and community engagement and Global Surveillance for human infection with novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV).
  • WHO has prepared disease commodity package that includes an essential list of biomedical equipment, medicines and supplies necessary to care for patients with 2019-nCoV.
  • WHO has provided recommendations to reduce risk of transmission from animals to humans.
  • WHO has published an updated advice for international traffic in relation to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus 2019-nCoV.
  • WHO has activated of R&D blueprint to accelerate diagnostics, vaccines, and therapeutics.
  • WHO has developed an online course to provide general introduction to emerging respiratory viruses, including novel coronaviruses.
  • WHO is providing guidance on early investigations, which are critical to carry out early in an outbreak of a new virus. The data collected from the protocols can be used to refine recommendations for surveillance and case definitions, to characterize the key epidemiological transmission features of COVID-19, help understand spread, severity, spectrum of disease, impact on the community and to inform operational models for implementation of countermeasures such as case isolation, contact-tracing and isolation.

Several protocols are available here: http://who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/technical-guidance/early-investigation

  • WHO is working with its networks of researchers and other experts to coordinate global work on surveillance, epidemiology, modelling, diagnostics, clinical care and treatment, and other ways to identify, manage the disease and limit onward transmission. WHO has issued interim guidance for countries, which are updated regularly.
  • WHO is working with global expert networks and partnerships for laboratory, infection prevention and control, clinical management and mathematical modelling.


During previous outbreaks due to other coronavirus (Middle-East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)), human to human transmission occurred through droplets, contact and fomites, suggesting that the transmission mode of the COVID-19 can be similar. The basic principles to reduce the general risk of transmission of acute respiratory infections include the following:

  • Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections.
  • Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment.
  • Avoiding unprotected contact with farm or wild animals.
  • People with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands).
  • Within healthcare facilities, enhance standard infection prevention and control practices in hospitals, especially in emergency departments.

WHO does not recommend any specific health measures for travellers. In case of symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness either during or after travel, the travellers are encouraged to seek medical attention and share their travel history with their health care provider.