Stand with
Generation Covid

Together, we are here for children

Coronavirus is the biggest global crisis for children since World War Two. UNICEF launched its largest-ever appeal to help tackle the impact of coronavirus on children and families around the world. We are here for children always and we won’t stop now.

With schools closed, UNICEF has already reached 301 million children with distance or home-based learning. And we’re looking to reach 123 million more.

Watch now: Daniel Walden, Senior Emergencies Specialist at UNICEF UK, explains how we are responding to the global coronavirus crisis.

What you can do

  1. Donate now to support UNICEF’s work to protect health workers in low- and middle-income countries.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Wash your hands regularly and thoroughly with soap and water. Cover your nose and mouth when you sneeze or cough. Remember that the UK has a strong, functioning health system. Act on the advice of the UK government.


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.

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.

Symptoms can include fever, cough, shortness of breath and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal.

Together with the World Health Organization (WHO), we recognise that there are many questions about the use of face masks to prevent the transmission of coronavirus in the community.

Masks should be used as part of a number of actions taken to suppress transmission and save lives. Other measures such as physical distancing and hand hygiene should be adopted. Although the use of a mask alone is not sufficient to provide an adequate level of protection against COVID-19; in settings where physical distancing is not possible – such as on public transport, in shops or in other confined or crowded environments, WHO advises to use non-medical fabric masks. You can find out more about the use of face masks specifically by children on WHO’s Q&A page.

Are you planning to make your own face covering? You can download your free pattern.

Coronavirus attacks the most vulnerable. It threatens children already weakened by war, disease, hunger and poverty, whose survival depends on health care, life-saving food and medical supplies. It endangers the four in ten families who don’t even have water and soap to wash their hands at home.

Children’s lives are at direct risk from the virus as well as from the disruption to food, water and medical supplies, to healthcare, education and social services. Hundreds of millions of children are out of school. Borders have been closed. Lives have been upended.

Children are having to cope with family loss and separation, the collapse of support services, as well as the social and economic effects on their families and carers.

With your support, Unicef is helping to prevent infection and reduce the impact of coronavirus on children and families. We are providing vital medical equipment, health care support, soap and clean water, as well as delivering campaigns to promote handwashing. We urgently need funds to help save and protect the lives of children and families, especially in countries with weaker national health services.

Act on advice of the government 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
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell and taste

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

At this time, there is not enough evidence to determine whether the virus is transmitted from a mother to her baby during pregnancy or delivery. This is currently being investigated. To date, the active virus has not been found in samples of amniotic fluid or breastmilk. Pregnant women should continue to follow appropriate precautions to protect herself from exposure to the virus, and seek medical care early, if experiencing symptoms.

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

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 deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines for health workers

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What is UNICEF doing to help?

UNICEF UK launched #GenerationCovid, its biggest-ever appeal, to help tackle the impact of coronavirus and help vulnerable children and families around the world.

UNICEF has already reached more than 1.6 billion people with messages about preventing the spread of coronavirus and providing access to services.

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 are providing teachers with resources on helping children and young people learn about rights from home.
  • we are calling on the UK government to address the impact of this crisis on children in its immediate and long-term response.

Around the world

UNICEF has been working closely with governments and the World Health Organization (WHO) since the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Our goal is to limit the spread of the virus and reduce the impact on children and families. We urgently need funds to expand the scale and scope of our work, especially in countries with weaker health systems.

UNICEF is helping to prevent infection and reduce the impact of coronavirus on children and families through:

  • supplying soap, clean water and vital medical equipment, such as surgical gloves
  • health care support for women, children and vulnerable communities and access to education and child protection services
  • handwashing campaigns and information on how communities can best protect themselves
  • data collection and analysis of the impact of the crisis on women and children.

These are uncertain times for everyone, but UNICEF is equipped to help children and families. We’re fighting against 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 care, education and play.

Donate now and help deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines around the world.

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. Check out our guide for children and young people. Here are some additional 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.

Covid-19 Vaccine: Donate and help deliver history

With your support, UNICEF will deliver 2 billion Covid-19 vaccines for health workers and the most high risk people on our planet. Your gift of £44 could transport 25 doses of Covid-19 vaccines.

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Sorry, the maximum value for setting up a monthly gift online is £1000. If you’d like to make a larger monthly gift please reach out to our Supporter Care team who will be able to assist you.

If you’re trying to make a one-off donation, please click on the “Single” button above.