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.

UN health agency developing COVID-19 virus treatment master plan

The World Health Organization (WHO) is developing a master plan for coordinating clinical trials that could lead to potential therapies for patients infected with the COVID-19 virus, the agency’s chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Wednesday.

Meeting of top scientists underway to slow coronavirus spread

Deaths from the coronavirus epidemic have surpassed 1,000, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed on Tuesday, as hundreds of health experts began meeting at its headquarters in Geneva to help halt the spread of the disease, now officially known as COVID-19.

Coronavirus containment is the key, as infections tick up: Tedros

Governments should continue to treat containment of the coronavirus as a priority, the head of the UN health agency, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday.

Coronavirus: demand for face masks creates shortfall for those in real need 

Unprecedented global demand for face masks and other protective equipment fuelled by the coronavirus epidemic, has created potentially dangerous shortages for those who need them most, the World Health Organization (WHO) announced on Friday. 

Slight fall in coronavirus infections ‘nothing to celebrate’, says UN health agency

A slight drop overnight in the number of people infected by the new coronavirus is welcome but “nothing to celebrate”, a top UN health official said on Thursday.

$675 million appeal to stop coronavirus in its tracks, as deaths rise

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) appealed on Wednesday for $675 million to boost international measures to counter the new coronavirus epidemic, as deaths from the outbreak neared 500.

Coronavirus: UN health agency moves fast to tackle ‘infodemic’; Guterres warns against stigmatization

The World Health Organization (WHO) has taken steps to ensure that the coronavirus epidemic that has claimed hundreds of lives in central China does not spark a dangerous social media “infodemic” fuelled by false information.

Coronavirus emergency: here’s what we know so far

A new strain of coronavirus (officially named COVID-19), which has caused respiratory diseases in China, and spread to 24 other countries, has been declared a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC) by the World Health Organization (WHO). Here are some basic facts you need to know about the virus.

Coronavirus spread now a global emergency declares World Health Organization

The rise in new coronavirus cases outside China, now constitutes a global health emergency, the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee declared on Thursday, calling on all countries to take urgent measures to contain the respiratory disease.

Coronavirus: First case confirmed in Gulf region, more than 6,000 worldwide

On Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that the coronavirus outbreak has now spread to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The vast majority of cases continue to be declared in China, with more than 6,000 confirmed, 68 of them outside of the country.

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.