One week since COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, the number of cases continues to soar around the world.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been infected, many have lost loved ones. Businesses have shut and hundreds of millions of children are out of school.

Borders have been closed. Lives have been upended.

During these difficult times, UNICEF is doing everything possible to help children and their families affected by the virus.

For those living in countries with broken health systems, poverty and inadequate sanitation, we’re sending medical supplies, protective equipment, soap, surgical gloves and hand washing supplies.

Children living without running water or handwashing facilities will be the ones to suffer most during this pandemic.

We’re working to prevent this.

Everything You Need To Know About COVID-19

UNICEF Ireland has got the facts. Learn how to protect yourself and loved ones from coronavirus.

Coronavirus FAQS

What is Coronavirus?

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease.

Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’

The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

The disease crisis is first and foremost a human tragedy, affecting hundreds of thousands, and potentially millions, of people.

What are the Symptoms of Coronavirus?

It can take up to 14 days for symptoms of coronavirus to appear.

The main symptoms are:

a cough
shortness of breath
breathing difficulties
fever (high temperature – 38 degrees Celsius or above) or chills

How is Coronavirus Spread?

Coronavirus is primarily spread through close contact with another individual, in particular through coughing and sneezing on somebody else who is within a range of about 3 to 6 feet from that person.

There’s also new data on how long the virus survives in the environment. Published in the New England Journal of Medicine scientist find that COVID-19 can survive in droplets for up to three hours, last up to four hours on copper surfaces, twenty-four hours on cardboard and two to three days on plastic and stainless steel.

How Can I Reduce the Spread of Coronavirus and Avoid Infection?

If you show symptoms, the best thing you can is self isolate.

Self-isolation means staying indoors and completely avoiding contact with other people. This is to stop other people from getting it.

Excellent hand hygiene is also essential to halting the spread of the virus. Wash your hands properly and often with soap and water.

If you have to sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or sneeze or cough into your elbow.

Put used tissues into a bin and wash your hands.

Should I Wear a Face 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).

I Am Displaying Symptoms, What Do I Do?

Act on advice of the government.

Stay at home for 14 days if you have either:

  • a high temperature
  • a new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly

Use the HSE 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

How UNICEF is Helping

Globally, thanks to your help, UNICEF is working around the clock to help prevent the spread of the virus among communities in the affected countries by:
  • Shipping critical medical supplies like surgical masks, protective suits, surgical gloves, and medicines where the need is greatest.
  • Providing life-saving food to children in cases where parents are unable to work.
  • Sharing accurate information on how to keep children and families safe. You can have a look at our blog here.
  • Supplying hygiene and medical kits to schools and health clinics.
  • Supporting distance learning opportunities for children out of school.
  • Providing mental health and psycho-social support to children and families affected.
With millions of children uprooted, affected by wars, dying from preventable causes, out of school, or missing out on essential vaccines, the need for support has never been greater.

Importance of Hand Hygiene

Excellent hand hygiene and frequent handwashing with soap is critical to tackling Coronavirus.

Vulnerable children must be given access to proper handwashing facilities, if they are to be protected from the virus.

We Need You Now More Than Ever!

UNICEF already works in over 190 countries and territories across the globe, in some of the world’s toughest places, to reach the world’s most disadvantaged children.

We are working around the clock to scale up our responses to COVID-19 through our global UNICEF family.  But we need the generous support of donors to make sure that we can reach children and pregnant women, wherever they are, to help halt the spread of Coronavirus and support those affected by it.

With this rapidly evolving global crisis, UNICEF needs flexible funding to respond swiftly according to needs on the ground.

Now more than ever, we count on our donors to continue supporting our mission for those with nothing and no one – despite these difficult times.

Please Consider Donating What You Can to Our Coronavirus Appeal