Commonwealth develops online tool to help track Covid-19 spread within the bloc

25th March 2020 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

The Commonwealth has announced that it has developed a daily updated web page to track the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic in each and every Commonwealth country. The service is called the Commonwealth coronavirus tracker and primarily makes use of data supplied by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The tracker is updated every day at 17:00 Greenwich Mean Time.

“Coronavirus has rapidly spread across the world affecting people, livelihoods and nations,” noted Commonwealth Assistant Secretary-General 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.”

According to information provided by WHO, only eight Commonwealth countries have assessed themselves as having the capacity to cope with public health emergencies. Another 31 reported that they have some capacity regarding public health emergencies, but suffer from important gaps in crucial areas.

“Commonwealth nurses and midwives are at the forefront of the global Covid-19 response,” highlighted Commonwealth Nurses and Midwives Federation president Kathleen McCourt. “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,” she stressed. “This data will better prepare and equip healthcare workers to tackle this global emergency.”

As of March 23, the tracker listed 42 Commonwealth countries which had reported confirmed cases of Covid-19, ranging from Belize, Grenada, Papua New Guinea and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (each having reported one case by that day) to the UK (then with 8 077 cases). South Africa had reported 554.