The World Health Organization (WHO) declared COVID-19 a pandemic on 11 March 2020.
More than 100 countries are now reporting cases. Roughly 80 percent of confirmed cases of COVID-19 experience a mild respiratory illness but it has a higher rate of severe complications for vulnerable people – such as the elderly and people with compromised immune systems – than other viruses such as flu.
The high level of supportive and intensive care required has placed a heavy burden on some of the world’s most advanced healthcare systems.
Given this is a pandemic, MSF’s ability to respond on the scale required will be limited, but we are currently responding in multiple countries.
We are deeply concerned about how COVID-19 might affect people living in precarious environments such as the homeless, those living in refugee camps in Greece or Bangladesh, or conflict-affected groups in Yemen or Syria.
We must do everything to prevent and delay further spreading of the virus. We know from our experience that trust in the response and health authorities is an essential component for outbreak control.
Clear, timely and honest communication and guidance is needed. People need to be empowered to protect themselves.