Imported cases of COVID-19 reported in several countries in the Russia/CIS region during early 2020. Maintain basic health precautions.

Severity: Informational Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Belarus
  • Armenia
  • Georgia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Chita, Zabaykalsk Kray
  • Tyumen', Tyumen' Oblast'

This alert began 05 Mar 2020 04:55 GMT and is scheduled to expire 21 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
  • Location(s): Russia/CIS (map)
  • Period: February-March 2020

Summary
Several countries in the Russia/CIS region have identified imported cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and in some instances, limited human-to-human transmission from those imported cases. Some countries provide more detailed location information than others. As of March 4, the following countries have identified confirmed COVID-19 cases:

  • Armenia: 1 imported case
  • Azerbaijan: 3 imported cases
  • Belarus: 1 imported case
  • Georgia: 3 imported cases in Tbilisi
  • Russia: Two imported cases, one each in Tyumen and Zabaykalsky regions
  • Ukraine: 1 imported case in Chernivtsi



Background and Analysis
Health authorities expect cases of this disease to increase as surveillance continues globally. Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission is occurring, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

On Jan. 30, the WHO declared the ongoing outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC). This indicates COVID-19 requires a coordinated international response, primarily due to the potential for the virus to spread to countries with weaker health systems that would be ill-equipped to contain it.

Advice
Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base

US CDC Guidance for Businesses and Employers

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