Three months ago, three million cases of COVID-19 had been reported to WHO, and more than 200,000 deaths. Since then, the number of cases has increased more than fivefold to 17.5 million, and the number of deaths has more than tripled, to 680,000.

A survey of responses from 103 countries between mid-May and early July found that 67 per cent of countries report disruption in family planning and contraception services.

More than half of countries reported disruption in antenatal care services and more than a third of countries reported disruption in childbirth services.

“On top of the health impact, we have seen the damage COVID-19 has caused socially, economically and politically. The Committee put forward a number of recommendations for countries to continue to implement to bring the virus under control” stated WHO director-general Dr Tedros.

Recommendations range from sharing best practice, to enhancing political commitment and leadership for national strategies and localized response activities driven by science, data, and experience.

A number of vaccines are now in phase three clinical trials and WHO hope’s to have a number of effective vaccines that can help prevent people from infection.

The WHO advance team that travelled to China has now concluded its mission to lay the groundwork for further joint efforts to identify the virus origins.

As a result of these efforts, WHO and Chinese experts have drafted the Terms of Reference for the studies and programme of work for an international team, led by WHO. The international team will include leading scientists and researchers from China and around the world.

Epidemiological studies will begin in Wuhan to identify the potential source of infection of the early cases. Evidence and hypotheses generated through this work will lay the ground for further, longer-term studies.