Be part of the solution

At a glance

People infected: 1,500,000+

Countries & territories affected: 180+

People recovered: 330,000+

Funding needed: £503.7 million

Unicef’s priority: Prevent the spread of the virus by mobilising medical supplies, consulting communities and implementing prevention campaigns.

Check out the World Health Organization’s interactive map for more details.

Coronavirus is affecting children’s lives in almost every country. Unicef is helping to tackle the impact of this new virus around the world. We are here for children always and we won’t stop now.

What you can do

There are many ways that you can help in the current coronavirus crisis. Here is some practical advice.

  • Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough.
  • Stick to the facts and be mindful. Don’t get caught up in, or contribute to, the noise. Remember children and others around you can pick up on your response to the news. Stay calm and informed.
  • Do your bit to call out bullying and stigmatisation. Don’t attach locations or ethnicity to the virus. Racial discrimination and bullying are always wrong. Let’s be kind, support each other and do our part to #ENDviolence.
  • Donate now to support Unicef’s work for children and families in countries with weaker health systems.
  • Remember that the UK has a strong, functioning health system. Act on the advice of the UK government.

Click on the sections below to learn more:


What is the novel coronavirus?

The 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

How is the novel coronavirus spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact, respiratory droplets like coughing and sneezing, and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. It is not yet known how long the virus survives on surfaces, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

What are the symptoms of novel coronavirus?

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal.

Should I wear a medical mask?

The use of a medical mask is advised if you have respiratory symptoms (coughing or sneezing) to protect others. If you don’t have any symptoms, then there is no need to wear a mask.

If masks are worn, they must be used and disposed of properly to ensure their effectiveness and to avoid any increased risk of transmitting the virus.

The use of a mask alone is not enough to stop infections and must be combined with frequent hand washing, covering sneezes and coughs, and avoiding close contact with anyone with cold or flu-like symptoms (coughing, sneezing, fever).

Does the novel coronavirus affect children?

Hundreds of millions of children are out of school. Borders have been closed. Lives have been upended. Children are at risk from the virus and from the disruption to health and education services, impacts on caregivers, and separation from family members.

These are uncharted waters for all of us, but Unicef is wholly equipped to help children and families. We’re fighting a new virus. We’re debunking myths. We’re working with governments and other organisations to keep children safe and ensure their rights to health, education and play are met during the coronavirus crisis. This work is crucial.

What should I do if a family member displays symptoms?

Act on advice of the government. Stay at home for 14 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • your condition gets worse
  • your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

Can pregnant women pass the novel coronavirus to unborn children?

At this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether the virus is transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, or the potential impact this may have on the baby. This is currently being investigated. Pregnant women should continue to follow appropriate precautions to protect herself from exposure to the virus, and seek medical care early, if experiencing symptoms, such as fever, cough or difficulty breathing.

UNICEF public health specialists are working in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Is it safe for a mother to breastfeed if she is infected with novel coronavirus?

All mothers in affected and at-risk areas with symptoms of fever, cough or difficulty breathing, should seek medical care early, and follow instructions from a health care provider.

Considering the benefits of breastfeeding and the insignificant role of breastmilk in the transmission of other respiratory viruses, the mother could continue breastfeeding.

However, precautions should be taken as there is a risk of transmission from mother to infant through respiratory droplets and direct contact, as well as indirectly through contaminated surfaces. Wear a mask when feeding a child, wash hands before and after feedings, and clean/disinfect contaminated surfaces.

If a mother is too ill, she should be encouraged to express milk and give it to the child via a clean cup and/or spoon – all while following the same infection prevention methods.

Unicef public health specialists are working in close collaboration with the World Health Organization.

Meet Leena!

She’s here to share the simple and effective steps to follow when washing your hands. Thorough and regular handwashing is one of the best things we can all do to prevent the spread of Novel Coronavirus, be part of the solution.

Help children affected by Coronavirus

Donate now

How can I speak to children about the Coronavirus?

We understand that children may feel anxious or worried about coronavirus, and parents and teachers may be unsure how to talk about the issue. Here are some tips:

  • Listen first. Does your child/pupil want to talk about it? Take their lead.
  • Stick to the facts. It’s important to be honest with children about what is happening.
  • Be part of the solution. Talk to your child/pupil about what they can do, such as covering their nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing and washing their hands regularly with soap and water.
  • Be mindful. Remember children can pick up on your response to the news. Stay calm and informed.
  • Act on advice. Governments are taking swift action to control the virus. Please follow the advice of the UK government.
  • Be kind. Supporting other people, especially the most vulnerable, will help reduce the impact of the virus.

Let's all work together to protect children and our loved ones from misinformation.

What is Unicef doing to help?

We work for children in over 190 countries. We exist to represent and support children, and the coronavirus outbreak is no exception.

In the UK
Unicef is here to help children, parents and teachers in every way we can. With our schools shut, exams and children’s activities cancelled, we will continue to ensure that the inspiring and unique voices of children are heard. We have also provided teachers with resources on helping children and young people learn about rights from home.

Around the world
Global cooperation is essential and at the heart of our values. Unicef has been working closely with governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. We are providing:

  • information on how communities can best protect themselves, as well as debunking harmful rumours and ensuring accuracy of information
  • essential medical and prevention supplies, including surgical gloves, soap and clean water facilities
  • health care support for women, children and vulnerable communities
  • access to education and child protection services
  • data collection and analysis of the impact of the crisis on women and children

We urgently need funds to expand the scale and scope of our work, especially in countries with weaker health systems.

Donate and help children affected by coronavirus
We are appealing globally for £503.7 million to scale up support for efforts to contain the Coronavirus outbreak. Funds will support Unicef’s work to limit the spread of the virus and reduce the impact on children and families, such as identifying alternative learning opportunities.

Children in Al Khader mixed primary school in Jordan take part in a handwashing demonstration.

A Unicef shipment of medical equipment arrives at the Ministry of Health warehouse in Jakarta, Indonesia.


£33 could provide 35 surgical masks to help prevent the spread of disease.

Sorry, we can only process donations of £1 and above due to admin costs.