Red Cross assists with global coronavirus response as outbreak declared international health emergency

Topics: Worldwide, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
January 31, 2020

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As the 2019-nCoV Novel-Coronavirus outbreak continues spreading beyond China, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has scaled up preparedness efforts to support people who are most vulnerable to the outbreak in Asia Pacific and beyond. 

Like all coronaviruses that can infect humans, it can be transmitted from an infected host animal to humans, and from human to human.

The Red Cross Red Crescent Movement are trusted partners and have decades of experience in preparing for and responding to disease outbreaks. The Canadian Red Cross has a roster of trained personnel ready to be deployed if requested. 

Preventing Misinformation and Promoting Good Hygiene 


In China and across Asia Pacific, National Red Cross Societies are engaging people and communities – online and offline – in helping prevent misinformation and reduce fear and improving hygiene by promoting effective measures such as handwashing.  

Across some parts of China, the Red Cross Society of China staff and volunteers are carrying out health education and promotion, checking the temperature of members of the public, and responding to emergency callouts to people with fever. 

The Canadian Red Cross encourages Canadians to follow good hygiene practices as recommended by the World Health Organization.  

  • The World Health Organization is recommending regular hand washing, covering the mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, and avoiding contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness, such as coughing and sneezing.  

  • Frequent and thorough hand washing is the top safety measure.  

  • If you are showing symptoms or feeling unwell, we suggest you seek medical attention.

Canadians wishing to support this response can donate to the China Novel-Coronavirus Response Appeal. Your donation will be used to fund the Red Cross Society of China's response to the Novel-Coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Response efforts include prevention and control of the spread of the infection, social mobilization and risk communication to communities affected or at risk, and support to government hospitals. 

Photo: Philippine Red Cross / IFRC