• Today, 15 February 2020, the Ministry of Public Health of Thailand announced a new laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 novel coronavirus case, the 34th confirmed case in the country so far.
• The case reported today is that of a 35-year-old health care worker who tended to a COVID-19 patient at a private hospital. According to the Ministry’s report, the health care worker did not wear a mask consistently while looking after the patient.
• WHO reiterates that health screening and surveillance systems in Thailand – at points of entry into the country as well as nationwide - are robust and capable of tracking suspected cases quickly, allowing health authorities to implement protocols to ensure isolation, contact tracing, testing and treatment of symptoms.
• Today’s report also indicates the importance of all health care personnel rigorously applying the required infection control measures when caring for suspected cases, including the correct use of appropriate face masks.
• Meanwhile, two COVID-19 patients, a 70-year-old man and a 30-year-old man, both of whom suffered from serious underlying medical conditions before infection, remain in what authorities describe as a “severe condition.”
• Additionally, the 30-year-old man is reported to be on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO), also known as extracorporeal life support, which is a technique of providing prolonged cardiac and respiratory support to a person whose heart and lungs are unable to provide an adequate amount of gas exchange or perfusion (the passage of blood, a blood substitute or other fluid through the blood vessels or other natural channels in an organ or tissue) to sustain life.
• The Ministry of Public Health also reports that 130 persons are currently under investigation, while 674 have been treated for symptoms and discharged. (These numbers have been revised downward by the Ministry of Public Health, after duplication of data was discovered.)
• 138 Thai nationals remain under a 14-day quarantine at Navy guesthouses after having been brought back to their country from Wuhan, China on 4 February. This quarantine period expires in the coming week. A man among this group who tested positive for novel coronavirus after displaying flu-like symptoms on 7 February is said to be doing well.
• The WHO R&D Blueprint is a global strategy and preparedness plan that allows the rapid activation of R&D activities during epidemics. On 11-12 February, WHO convened a global research and innovation forum in Geneva to mobilize international action and enable identification of key knowledge gaps and research priorities to contribute to the control of COVID-19. The forum included members of the scientific community, researchers from Member States’ public health agencies including from Thailand, regulatory experts and major funders of research related to COVID-19. During the meeting, the more than 300 participants agreed on a set of global research priorities and outlined mechanisms for continuing scientific interactions and collaborations beyond the meeting, to be coordinated and facilitated by WHO. They consulted with research funders to determine how necessary resources can be mobilized so that critical research can start immediately. The resulting roadmap will be used by researchers and funders to accelerate the research response.