India reported its 1st case of COVID-19 on 30th January, 2020. It was a travel related case from Wuhan, China. Since then (as on 29th March, 2020), 979 confirmed cases and 25 deaths have been reported from 27 States/UTs.

The COVID-19 virus that triggered a supply shock in China has now caused a global shock. Developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific (EAP), recovering from a trade war and struggling with a viral disease, now face the prospect of a global financial shock and recession.

This report concerns the stocktaking meeting on the work of the Least Developed Countries Expert Group (LEG) held in Antananarivo from 10 to 12 February 2020. It contains a summary of achievements, good practices and lessons learned from the work of the LEG in 2016–2020 as identified at the meeting.

The COVID-19-induced global recession, together with the economic effects of steps taken by the South African government to address the pandemic domestically, has made a challenging situation increasingly untenable.

The COVID-19 pandemic is primarily a health crisis and a human tragedy, but it also has far-reaching economic ramifications.

To date 44292 people have been tested largely in private laboratories. A total of 47541 tests have been completed, of which about 6000 were performed in the public National Health Laboratory Service.

The pandemic caused by SARS-CoV-2 is spreading quickly, with 738,000 cases confirmed across the globe and over 35,000 deaths registered as of 30 March 2020 (Johns Hopkins University, Center for Systems Science and Engineering). The number of cases has almost doubled in the last week (from 418,000 cases on 23 March).

The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a human crisis. Its most direct impact is on health and human well-being. The medical emergency and the public response to it — most importantly restrictions on movement — have also had a dramatic impact on economic activity, and led to significant job losses.

A raging pandemic—unleashed by a highly contagious COVID-19 virus—has triggered unprecedented restrictions not only on the movement of people but also on a range of economic activities, and the declaration of national emergencies in most countries in Europe and North America.

While there currently is a significant focus on the public health and economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the workforce and societal implications are no less profound. The guiding principles and the four workforce management imperatives outlined in this document are a preliminary response to the unfolding crisis.

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