With 73,424 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, and 1,874 deaths in four countries (1,772 in China and one each in Japan, the Philippines and France), the coronavirus outbreak currently constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
To address growing concern, FutureLearn has launched a free online course, COVID-19: Tackling the Novel Coronavirus, which is now open for registration, and will be delivered by experts from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The digital programme will cover everything known about the disease thus far, including the practical implications for response, how to stop the spread of coronavirus, and what is needed for the future.
Starting on 23 March, the course will be suitable for everyone, from those working in healthcare to members of the public who are concerned about the virus. The programme will run for three weeks and will require four hours of study per week.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine was named Times Higher Education University of the Year 2016 for its response to the Ebola outbreak which included, among many other things, an online course, Ebola in Context, on FutureLearn. The programme saw over 18,000 enrolments from over 185 countries including Sierra Leone, which was badly affected by the epidemic.
The new coronavirus course will be led by Dr Anna Seale and Dr Maryirene Ibeto from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
“The response to COVID-19 is an international effort, requiring worldwide collaboration and transparency,” said Dr Seale. “This course, which is open to participants around the world, aims to bring together expertise, and share knowledge on what we know to date and what we are still learning about the virus and how to combat it.”
Dr Ibeto commented: “Through this course, we aim to facilitate communities of practice, connecting those working with, or interested in, COVID-19. By pooling our knowledge to fill gaps in our knowledge about the virus, we stand the best chance of stopping this outbreak in its tracks.”
The programme will be free to start and learners can upgrade for £29, giving them access to course content for as long as the programme remains on the FutureLearn platform.