Coronavirus global health emergency

Secretary-General looking up next to the UN flag.

“Our world can only get ahead of this virus one way - together”

Our world has reached a heart-wrenching milestone:  the COVID-19 pandemic has now claimed two million lives.

Amédéo Miceli, President of the Red Cross Centre in La Louvière, Belgium, returns to the Red Cross Centre after collecting soup and delivering it to a distribution point. Photo courtesy MCR La Louvière
UNRIC Brussels

COVID-19 drives global surge in volunteering

At the heart of the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteers have demonstrated an exceptional display of solidarity across the world. Responding to calls for help from their local communities, they are everyday heroes.

Secretary-General António Guterres at a podium with COVID-19 poster
António Guterres

Stronger health systems and Universal Health Coverage must be a priority

Nearly a year into the pandemic, we face a human tragedy, and a public health, humanitarian and development emergency. For the first time since 1945, the entire world is confronted by a common threat, regardless of nationality, ethnicity or faith. But while COVID-19 does not discriminate, our efforts to prevent and contain it do. For that reason, the pandemic has hit the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies hardest.


Home Cooks prepare meals at home and pack them to be distributed in the streets on Montpellier, France by a team of cyclists. Photo courtesy Deliv'rue
UNRIC Brussels

Deliv’rue delivers meals “at home” for homeless people

Since early November, hundreds of volunteers have mobilized to cook and deliver meals to homeless persons in Montpellier in the south of France. The group’s name, Déliv’rue, is a pun on “Deliveroo” a popular home delivery service (“Rue” means street in French). It seeks to bring food, comfort and a connection with the city’s most least fortunate.

WHO poster

WHO: Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic

The World Health Organization (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. 

WHO’s response in countries

Find out how the WHO is working across its 149 country offices to assist communities all over the world.

What is a Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. Find out more about this novel coronavirus (nCoV) that has not been previously identified in humans.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19? How can I protect myself? Should I worry about COVID-19? Get the answers.


Verified is a United Nations initiative to encourage us all to check the advice we share.

COVID-19 Response logo

Information from the UN System

Everyone is talking about coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Be sure to get your facts from reliable sources. The UN offices, field missions, agencies, funds and programmes are providing new information as it becomes available. Here are some of their resource pages.

UN staff form a circle with the SDG colours

Information for UN personnel

The United Nations is closely monitoring the situation with the COVID-19 outbreak. This page features important advisories, guidelines, resources, and materials on the COVID-19 outbreak for all UN duty stations, offices, personnel and their families, visitors, and UN healthcare workers, as well as advice on maintaining wellness. It is updated with the latest available information.



Get information on UN meetings that are being held virtually due to COVID-19.

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Communication Materials

Social media posters, advice for patients and health workers and key scenarios for printing

13 January 2021 - The UN’s labour agency (ILO) called on Wednesday for greater recognition and protection for the hundreds of millions of people who work from home, accounting for almost eight per cent of the global workforce even before the COVID-19 pandemic.


health clinic in India

8 January 2021 - Two billion doses of “safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines” have been secured by the international equitable vaccine alliance COVAX, and they will be ready for distribution as soon they are delivered, the UN health agency chief said on Friday. 


A mother and doctor tend to a young girl with COVID-19

7 January 2021 - The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned of a “tipping point” in the fight against COVID-19, amid surging cases in Europe and the fresh challenge of a mutating virus. 


How concerned should we be about the new variants of SARS CoV 2 which cause COVID-19? Is it unusual for viruses to change and mutate? Do vaccines protect against these variants and what can you do to protect yourself? WHO’s Chief Scientist Dr Soumya Swaminathan explains in Science in 5.

UN Human Rights Day puts the global spotlight on the importance of human rights in the post-COVID recovery. IMO is highlighting the plight of the hundreds of thousands of seafarers who are still stranded at sea, and has issued a strong call for their fundamental rights to be respected.

Every seventh person alive today – more than 1 billion people in total – lives with some form of disability. Despite being so numerous, persons with disabilities are still overwhelmingly overlooked in times of emergency, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.