New Commonwealth tracker collects data on COVID-19

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The Commonwealthof Nations has developed an online coronavirus tracker that provides a daily update on the scale of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in Commonwealth countries.

The tracker collects data from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and shows the total confirmed coronavirus cases and deaths in the affected member countries.

Generally known as the Commonwealth, the organisationis a political association of 54 member states, mostly former territories of the British Empire.

The online tool is designed to help countries prepare and respond to the pandemic.

It is part of the Innovation Hub, which was established by the Commonwealth in 2018, to promote the use of cutting-edge ideas and innovations of the Commonwealth’s 2.4 billion people, 54 member countries and 90 accredited organisations.

Since the outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, over 486 000 coronavirus cases have been reported, with over 117 000 recoveries and more than 22 000 deaths, at the time of publication.

“Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world, affecting people, livelihoods and nations,” says assistant secretary-general of the Commonwealth,Nabeel Goheer.

“The Commonwealth, as an organisation that believes in innovation, has prepared this tracker that offers real-time and accurate insight for governments to make informed decisions on this worsening crisis.”

As of today, the online tracker shows 18 242 Commonwealth citizens have been infected and 505 have died in some member countries.

A Commonwealth analysis suggests access to hospital beds and ventilators are limited in many countries, which could present a major challenge if coronavirus is not contained.

Kathleen McCourt, president of the Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation, explains: “Commonwealth nurses and midwives are at the forefront of the global Covid-19 response.

“They are reporting inadequate access to personal protective equipment, being asked to work in unfamiliar environments and inconsistent or absent access to testing for healthcare workers.

“We are encouraging national organisations to contribute data to the Commonwealth coronavirus tracker. This data will better prepare and equip healthcare workers to tackle this global emergency.”

McCourt urged Commonwealth countries to work with health professionals to ensure healthcare workers are protected and able to care for their patients safely and appropriately.

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