Coronavirus global health emergency: Coverage from UN News
The outbreak was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019

This page brings together information and guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations regarding the current outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) that was first reported in Wuhan, China, on 31 December 2019. Please visit this page for daily updates. WHO is working closely with global experts, governments and partners to rapidly expand scientific knowledge on this new virus, to track the spread and virulence of the virus, and to provide advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak.

‘Country-driven’ approach needed to limit COVID-19 damage to food security 

A ‘business as usual' approach is no longer an option, the head of the UN agriculture agency said on Tuesday, launching a new plan to move past the coronavirus pandemic.

‘Turn the tide’ across a turbulent world, UN chief urges key development forum 

“Concrete, bold and implementable solutions” are needed to turn the tide on the many challenges the world is facing, including the COVID-19 pandemic, Secretary-General António Guterres said on Tuesday, on the biggest day so far for the UN’s key international forum on sustainable development.  

‘Women Rise for All’ to shape leadership in pandemic response and recovery

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has generated an unprecedented global health, humanitarian and development crisis, it has also revealed the power of women’s leadership, according to the UN Deputy Secretary-General.

‘Don’t make schools a political football’: senior WHO official calls for data-based COVID-19 strategies

A senior World Health Organization (WHO) official on Monday, called for the question of school reopenings to be included as part of comprehensive, data-driven COVID-19 public health strategies, and not a politically-driven decision-making process.

COVID-19: UN and partners work to ensure learning never stops for young refugees

Global advocates for refugees are pushing to ensure the COVID-19 pandemic does not derail efforts for displaced children and young people to continue learning and eventually return to a real classroom.

UN report sends ‘sobering message’ of deeply entrenched hunger globally

In much of the world, “hunger remains deeply entrenched and is rising”, the UN chief said on Monday, launching this year’s major UN food security update, highlighting that over the past five years, tens of millions of people have joined the ranks of the chronically undernourished.

A taxing problem: how to ensure the poor and vulnerable don’t shoulder the cost of the COVID-19 crisis

In the wake of the unprecedented COVID-19 crisis, tax systems should be reformed, and tax avoidance and evasion reduced, to ensure an economic recovery in which everyone pays their share, says the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

COVID-19 lockdown in Myanmar exposes precarious position of LGBTQI population

In Myanmar, the COVID-19 lockdown has laid bare the stigmatization, discrimination and harassment faced by many LGBTQI people, particularly in rural areas. The United Nations is working to support those people.

World Population Day: 'No time to waste' in empowering women

The COVID-19 pandemic affects everyone, everywhere, “but it does not affect everyone equally”, the UN chief said in his message for World Population Day, on Sunday.

‘Strengthen multilateralism’ to combat global terrorism

Although COVID-19 has tested “national resilience, international solidarity and multilateral cooperation”, we must not “pause our efforts” in the battle against terrorism, the UN counter-terrorism chief said on Friday.

WHO’s Advice For the general public

WHO
Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) advice for the public.

 

  • If you are healthy, you only need to wear a mask if you are taking care of a person with suspected 2019-nCoV infection.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective only when used in combination with frequent hand-cleaning with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • If you wear a mask, then you must know how to use it and dispose of it properly.

How to put on, use, take off and dispose of a mask

 

  • Before putting on a mask, clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Cover mouth and nose with mask and make sure there are no gaps between your face and the mask.
  • Avoid touching the mask while using it; if you do, clean your hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.
  • Replace the mask with a new one as soon as it is damp and do not re-use single-use masks.
  • To remove the mask: remove it from behind (do not touch the front of mask); discard immediately in a closed bin; clean hands with alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water.

Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus. 

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can gargling mouthwash protect you from infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that using mouthwash will protect you from infection with the new coronavirus.

Some brands or mouthwash can eliminate certain microbes for a few minutes in the saliva in your mouth. However, this does not mean they protect you from 2019-nCoV infection.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Does putting on sesame oil block the new coronavirus from entering the body?

No. Sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform.

However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus. 

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.