« Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Responding to the coronavirus crisis is UNICEF Australia’s most urgent priority at all levels of our operations.

We are committed to supporting children, young people, parents and caregivers in Australia, our region, and where the need is greatest across the world.

Our response in Australia

We are urgently re-prioritising our internal resources and building partnerships to support children and their communities in Australia to:

  1. Help to slow the spread of the virus and mitigate its overall impact on the health and livelihoods of all Australians.
  2. Support children, young people, parents and care-givers to cope with the immediate impacts of the crisis.
  3. Ensure that the voices of children and young people are heard, and their unique needs are understood and addressed during the immediate crisis and the long term recovery.
  4. Help ensure that the best interests of children are made a priority by Governments.
  5. Deliver targeted and practical support to children and young people to support recovery over the long term.

Right now we are:

  • Distributing evidence-based information and resources to support parents, teachers and carers.
  • Listening to children and young people to ensure that their unique needs are understood and addressed, and advocating for the rights of children and young people in the response.
  • Encouraging the Australian Government to support the most vulnerable communities in the region through the Humanitarian Action for Children appeal.

The situation is rapidly evolving, and we are also planning additional initiatives, including building a longer term program to support children and young people’s recovery and ongoing advocacy with and for Australian children and young people.

Since the outbreak of coronavirus, UNICEF and partners have scaled up hygiene awareness, distributions of soap and community engagement activities, particularly in vulnerable communities, to empower children and their parents to protect themselves. Pictured: a UNICEF staffer helps a child wash her hands properly, in Jordan. © UNICEF/UNI313264/Matas

UNICEF global response to coronavirus

UNICEF has always played a key role in the global fight against disease, leading in global efforts to eliminate polio and responding to major health emergencies like the Ebola outbreaks in Africa.

Across the globe UNICEF is engaging in critical work to stop the spread of the disease and respond to the urgent needs of children and young people by:

  1. Providing urgently-needed medical equipment and personal protective equipment to keep health workers safe.
  2. Providing critical water and sanitation supplies and hygiene items.
  3. Working with governments to strengthen fragile health systems, including training healthcare staff and community health workers in infection prevention and control.
  4. Developing and disseminating risk communications and targeted messages on prevention and access to services.
  5. Ensuring ongoing, essential healthcare for women and children, including immunisation, pre- and post-natal care, HIV care and GBV response in UNICEF-supported facilities.
  6. Helping to provide children with inclusive distance/home based learning during school closures.
  7. Training personnel across sectors on gender-based violence.
  8. Facilitating provision of cash grants to households for basic needs.

At the same time, our work for children around the world must continue. In places like Syria, Yemen, and Bangladesh millions of children are still counting on us for clean drinking water, treatment for malnutrition, or protection from ongoing violence and war. Despite the increasing challenges, this work must go on.

A shipment of UNICEF boxes of protective equipment, including protective suits, surgical masks and respiratory masks arrives in Shanghai (China) on 29 January 2020. © UNICEF/UNI284471

Supporting the Asia Pacific region

With fragile health systems and limited medical supplies and equipment, our Pacific neighbours face some of the greatest challenges as coronavirus spreads around the world. 

UNICEF’s ongoing response in our region will support the poorest countries who do not have the resources to protect their people or to provide adequate treatment for those who fall ill.

Our teams are procuring and providing much needed medical supplies and equipment, as well as supporting training healthcare workers. 

UNICEF has already delivered 13 tons of urgently needed supplies to affected areas, including protective suits, masks, goggles and gloves for use by health workers. Regionally, UNICEF plans to deliver a further US$12.2 million in supplies to support the response. 

Support the UNICEF Coronavirus Appeal

We need your help to allow us to scale up our response so that we can ensure the continuity of care and education for the most vulnerable children.