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COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Intervention in South Sudan Caption
Water and sanitation coordinator Adrien Mahama illustrates the correct use of masks during an infection prevention and control training for the staff in Juba, South Sudan.

COVID-19 is a new viral disease that affects the respiratory system

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020. More than 200 countries are now reporting cases.

As COVID-19 continues to spread, MSF teams are racing to respond to the pandemic in the more than 70 countries in which we run programmes, while opening projects in new countries as they become pandemic hotspots.

Our COVID-19 response focuses on three main priorities:

  • Supporting health authorities to provide care for patients with COVID-19 
  • Protecting people who are vulnerable and at risk 
  • Keeping essential medical services running

For comprehensive information, including how to protect yourself against the disease, please visit the NHS website on COVID-19.

COVID-19: Key facts

1_2_Sexual abuse

80%

EXPERIENCE MILD RESPIRATORY ILLNESS

7_1_staff

20%

REQUIRE HOSPITAL ADMISSION

2_2_vaccine

6%

WILL REQUIRE CRITICAL CARE

Crises haven’t stopped for COVID-19. Neither have we.

Our supplies and staff are stretched by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we’ve continued to care for people caught in some of the worst health crises in the world today by adapting to the dangers caused by the virus. Help us by giving to our emergency appeal.

Across our projects, MSF teams have been improving infection prevention and control measures to protect patients and staff and prevent further spread of the new coronavirus. It is absolutely crucial to prevent health facilities from amplifying the pandemic or being forced to close their doors.

Health systems worldwide are urgently in need of personal protective equipment – which face shortages of crucial items such as masks and aprons – so that essential medical services can stay open.

Having access to protective equipment, to COVID-19 tests, to oxygen and to drugs for supportive care, becomes more and more urgent as COVID-19 spreads in countries with little access to these tools.

Where is MSF responding?

Information as of 25 November 2020

We started our first activities in our response to the COVID-19 pandemic in January 2020. As the new coronavirus spread, touching virtually every country in the world, MSF adapted or scaled up our ongoing activities and started new activities in many countries over the course of the first six months of 2020.

We committed substantial resources to developing dedicated COVID-19 projects, maintaining essential healthcare in our existing programmes, and accompanying ministries of health in preparing and/or facing the pandemic. This support was often in the form of training in infection prevention and control, health promotion and organisation of healthcare services.

In the second half of 2020, most of this training has concluded, and the greater part of our COVID-19-specific activities have been handed over or closed. Most COVID-19-related activities have been integrated in our regular projects, although we are maintaining some COVID-19-focused projects and, with the second wave of infections in some areas, some activities are re-opening, especially in Europe. Where we are doing so is very much dependent on the context: the local epidemiological situation, the local health needs, and our own resources.

It is still difficult to provide a global narrative on our operations, as the pandemic is affecting every country in the world, with different consequences, in different places. Therefore, our approach can also be very different from country to country or even from project to project.
 

COVID-19: News and stories