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 have now reporting cases.
MSF teams are directly responding to the COVID-19 pandemic in over 40 countries. We are opening or reopening new projects as they become pandemic hotspots or as the number of cases rises.
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;
- and keeping essential medical services running.
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.
Having access to protective equipment, to COVID-19 tests, to oxygen and to drugs for supportive care, is essential as COVID-19 spreads in countries with little access to these tools.
For comprehensive information, including how to protect yourself against the disease, please visit the NHS website on COVID-19.
Help us prepare for the next emergency
COVID-19: Key facts
MSF CONSULTATIONS FOR COVID-19 IN 2020
COVID-19 PATIENTS ADMITTED TO AN MSF HOSPITAL IN 2020
WILL REQUIRE CRITICAL CARE
Where is MSF responding?
Information as of 6 October 2021
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.
Since the middle of 2020, this training has largely concluded. Most COVID-19-related activities have been integrated in our regular projects, although we are maintaining some COVID-19-focused projects. Over the last six months, our COVID-19-specific activities have been opened (or reopened) and closed as the second wave of infections determines the need to scale up. 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.