Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe respiratory diseases.
Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans. Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.
Coronavirus knows no borders. It is a global pandemic and our shared humanity demands a global response.
We must come together. Only a global response will stop the spread of the virus everywhere.Read the latest coronavirus-related news.
The virus is already having devastating consequences for children and their rights.
Health systems across the world are being overwhelmed. Economies are sliding towards depression. Millions of children have had their education disrupted. Many face the prospect of poverty as loved ones fall ill, or can’t work. They will be confused and frightened.
Failure to contain the virus will tear apart the lives of millions of families and children across the world. With the pandemic now spreading into some of the world’s poorest countries, there is a real danger that the world will see a reversal of the gains made over the last 20 years and destruction of the rights of children.
COVID-19 will be devastating for children living in fragile places like conflict zones, refugee camps, and urban slums. As with any time of crisis, women and girls are likely to be disproportionately affected.
Vulnerable children and their families cannot be forgotten as the world battles to contain the outbreak of coronavirus.
If we work together, we can beat it.
All over the world, Save the Children is responding to the crisis.
Our teams are rapidly adapting existing work whilst preparing for outbreaks of coronavirus in countries with weakened health systems, fragile contexts or a limited capacity to respond due to other ongoing crises, such as conflict or natural disasters.
This is just a small portion of the actions our teams are taking to support the world’s most vulnerable children:
Globally, we are calling on community, national and global leaders to take action on five fronts. In particular, we must exploit the closing window of opportunity in Africa, Latin America, the Pacific, and other areas not yet hard hit. This is a time for leadership and collaboration by governments, financial institutions, private companies and organisations like Save the Children.
In Bangladesh, we are working in the Rohingya refugee camps to share information on the risks of the virus and to support this vulnerable group to protect themselves. We are repairing toilets and improving sanitation in the camps, and preparing our health facilities to treat patients.
In Italy, our teams are distributing tablets, books and educational games to children from low-income families to support their learning at home. We are also working with families to support their children’s mental health and wellbeing while confined to their homes.
In Jordan, we are adapting existing programming to ensure that children, including Syrian refugees in camps, are able to continue their education and access emotional and wellbeing support. Our team is also coordinating with partners to support the Ministry of Education by increasing and diversifying learning materials.
In Mexico, our teams are handing out hygiene kits and materials for families in migrant camps. These kits are vital for helping vulnerable families, providing them with soap, hand sanitisers and essential information on how to stay healthy and protect themselves from Coronavirus.
In Norway, we are encouraging the Government to speak directly to children so they understand the situation. We are also advocating to make sure that children who feel unsafe at home have a way to seek help and that the child welfare system can continue throughout the crisis.
In South Korea, our teams are providing emergency supplies to protect children and their families from infection. We are working with community networks to operate out of 20 sites, using children centres and local government offices, to reach as many children as possible.
In Spain, we are offering therapy to children and families to support their emotional and mental wellbeing, and we are working with parents and guardians to strengthen their positive parenting skills so they can care for their children during the crisis. We are also supporting struggling parents with cash donations to buy food for their families.
We are launching an emergency appeal to raise $30 million so we can be there for children, their families and communities to prepare for and respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Please donate to our Coronavirus Emergency Appeal.