Coronavirus global health emergency

Ballet Manguinhos resumes performing after a COVID-19 hiatus with “Woman: Power and Resistance”. Photo courtesy Ana Silva/Ballet Manguinhos

Brazilian ballet pirouettes during pandemic

Ballet Manguinhos, named for its favela in Rio de Janeiro, returns to the stage after a long absence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It counts 250 children and teenagers from the favela as its performers. The ballet group provides social support in a community where poverty, hunger and teen pregnancy are constant issues.

Women wearing protective gear sit at a table writing with pens

2021 Year in Review: ‘We underestimate this virus at our peril’

Despite the almost miraculous development of effective vaccines against COVID-19 in 2020, the virus continued to spread and mutate throughout the last year, with much of the blame placed on a lack of effective global collaboration as a key reason for the prolonged pandemic.  UN News highlights the Organization’s work in 2021 to address COVID-19, including the UN-backed programme to help developing countries protect their populations against the virus, and the steps taken to prepare for future global health crises.

Women sort through colourful masks.

As we respond to the pandemic, we need to prepare for the next one

COVID-19 demonstrated how quickly an infectious disease can sweep across the world, push health systems to the brink, and upend daily life. COVID-19 is not be the last pandemic humanity will face. As we respond to this health crisis, we need to prepare for the next one. This means scaling-up investments in better monitoring, early detection and rapid response plans in every country — especially the most vulnerable. An outbreak anywhere is a potential pandemic everywhere. This International Day of Epidemic Preparedness, let’s give this issue the focus, attention and investment it deserves.

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.

FAQs

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

Verified

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.

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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.

 

Meetings

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

A family visit the grave of their mother who worked at a popular restaurant in Indonesia where she likely contracted COVID-19.

24 January 2022 - The world must accept that COVID-19 is with us “for the foreseeable future”, even if it is possible to end the acute phase of the pandemic this year, UN health agency chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said on Monday.

 

A woman is vaccinated against COVID-19 at a health centre in the Obassin region of Burkina Faso.

20 January 2022 - For the first time in Africa since the peak of the Omicron wave, weekly COVID-19 cases dropped significantly and deaths dipped, the World Health Organization (WHO) informed on Thursday. 

 

 

In September 2021, Ukraine was hit by a new wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

12 January 2022 - Fuelled by Omicron, more than 15 million new cases of COVID-19 were reported around the world last week, by far the most cases reported in a single seven day period, the World Health Organization (WHO) informed on Wednesday. 

 

Science in 5 is a video and podcast series reflecting WHO’s conversations in science. WHO experts explain the science related to COVID-19 in each 5 minute episode. Watch all episodes

The Omicron variant of COVID-19 has been called a variant of concern by the World Health Organization. There is still substantial uncertainty regarding Omicron and a lot of research underway to evaluate its transmissibility, severity and reinfection risk. The most important thing you can do is reduce your risk of exposure to the virus. Wear a mask, practice physical distancing, avoid poorly ventilated and crowded areas, and get vaccinated when it's your turn.

With large sections of the population unvaccinated, new variants, like Omicron, are likely to keep emerging. These new variants spread like wildfire and put everyone at increased risk. To end this destructive cycle, the UN says we must vaccinate at least 70% of the population in every country. The UN's vaccine strategy is to achieve this goal by mid-2022. This will require at least 11 billion vaccine doses – but the task is doable.