COVID-19 Outbreak Readiness and Response
On this page you can find information and guidance on the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, which was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 11 March 2020.
For more information, visit World Health Organization's coronavirus web page.
The IASC Principals, supported by the IASC's Emergency Directors Group, are meeting regularly to assess the rapidly-evolving situation and determine necessary actions to urgently respond to the COVID-19 outbreak. To ensure that life-saving assistance is delivered to the most vulnerable people, the Principals have fast-tracked the release of critical guidance to support its members and the broader humanitarian community in emergency response and preparedness. They are committed to sustaining ongoing humanitarian operations to avoid further loss of lives and suffering and the aggravation of affected people’s vulnerabilities, while still prioritizing the provision of duty of care measures for staff.
The IASC Principals have agreed on the activation of the IASC System-Wide Scale-Up Protocols adapted to respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic emergency, effective as of 16 April for an initial period of six months. These protocols are ‘light’ and ‘adapted’ to enable the continued and timely delivery of aid. They build on the IASC Scale-Up activation for infectious diseases, which reflects the roles of WHO and its Director-General and Member States under the International Health Regulations (2005). They are global in scope and will be flexibly applied on a needs-basis, with the starting point being those countries included in the regularly-updated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (Global HRP). What this activation unequivocally signals for the IASC and our humanitarian partners is threefold: a) the global response to this pandemic represents the highest priority for the humanitarian system; b) we will be adapting our internal procedures and working methods to flexibly keep pace with the operational realities; and c) we are firmly committing to do all that is possible to both keep existing life-saving operations running and to scale-up in new locations where a humanitarian response will be required.
The Global HRP for the COVID-19 Pandemic was launched on 25 March 2020 and is a joint effort by members of the IASC, including UN, other international organizations and NGOs with a humanitarian mandate, to analyse and respond to the direct public health and indirect immediate humanitarian consequences of the pandemic, particularly on people in countries already facing other crises. It seeks to respond to the additional needs from the COVID-19 pandemic while ensuring continued support on pre-existing crises. The Global HRP was updated on 7 May 2020 and 16 July and appeals for US$10.3 billion. It aims to enable us to fight the virus in the world’s poorest countries and address the needs of the most vulnerable people, especially women and children, older people, and those with disabilities or chronic illness. View the funding overview of the GHRP on the Financial Tracking Service here.
Fourteen guidance documents have been developed jointly by a number of the IASC members and/or IASC Reference Groups, and are available in different languages.
- WHO website: COVID-19 (WHO)
- Country and technical guidance on COVID-19 (WHO)
- COVID-19 Resources Relating to Accountability and Inclusion (Multiple Resources)
- COVID-19 (United Nations)
- Advice of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture to States Parties and National Preventive Mechanisms relating to the Coronavirus Pandemic (OHCHR)
- COVID-19 Resource Material (OCHA)
- Guidance Note: COVID-19 Response Readiness and Humanitarian Response Plan Revision
- COVID-19 and the Displaced: Addressing the Threat of the Novel Coronavirus in Humanitarian Emergencies (Refugees International)
- Glossary - A Guide to Coronavirus-Related Words (Merriam Webster)
- Global Rapid Gender Analysis for COVID-19 (Care International and IRC)
- Guidance note on the importation of Medicines and Medical Equipment in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) (IMPACCT)
- COVID-19 and Internal Displacement - Messages and Resources (UNHCR)
- COVID-19 and Shelter (Global Shelter Cluster)
- Advice on compulsory quarantine for Coronavirus (Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture) (OHCHR)
- COVID-19 platform (OECD)
- FAQ on Data Responsibility in the COVID-19 (OCHA)
- Secretary-General's statement on the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on Children (UNSG)
- COVID-19 Distancing ESAfrica brief (SSHAP)
- 2020 Global Report on Food Crises - Joint Analysis for Better Decisions (FSIN)
- MEDEVAC During COVID-19 Pandemic (United Nations)
- The Sphere standards and the Coronavirus response (Sphere)
- COVID-19 and the impact on agriculture and food security (ILO)
- COVID-19: Access Challenges and the Implications of Border Restrictions (UNHCR & IOM)
- COVID-19 Supply Chain System documents (WHO)
- COVID-19 Resources (ACAPS)
- Commitments into Action: A holistic and coherent response to COVID-19 across the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus (UNSDG & OECD INCAF)
- WHO Gender and COVID-19 Advocacy Brief (WHO)
- Secretary-General's Policy Briefs on COVID-19 (United Nations)