COVID-19 Pandemic Response

Humanity needs leadership and
solidarity to defeat the coronavirus


The coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic is the defining global health crisis of our time and the greatest challenge we have faced since World War Two. Since its emergence in Asia late last year, the virus has spread to every continent except Antarctica. Cases are rising daily in Africa the Americas, and Europe.

Countries are racing to slow the spread of the disease by testing and treating patients, carrying out contact tracing, limiting travel, quarantining citizens, and cancelling large gatherings such as sporting events, concerts, and schools.

The pandemic is moving like a wave—one that may yet crash on those least able to cope.

But COVID-19 is much more than a health crisis. By stressing every one of the countries it touches, it has the potential to create devastating social, economic and political crises that will leave deep scars.

We are in uncharted territory. Many of our communities are unrecognizable from even a week ago. Dozens of the world’s greatest cities are deserted as people stay indoors, either by choice or by government order. Across the world, shops, theatres, restaurants and bars are closing.

Every day, people are losing jobs and income, with no way of knowing when normality will return. Small island nations, heavily dependent on tourism, have empty hotels and deserted beaches. The International Labour Organization estimates that 25 million jobs could be lost.


UNDP response

Every country needs to act immediately to prepare, respond, and recover. The UN system will support countries through each stage, with a focus on the most vulnerable.

Drawing on our experience with other outbreaks such as Ebola, HIV, SARS, TB and malaria, as well as our long history of working with the private and public sector, UNDP will help countries to urgently and effectively respond to COVID-19 as part of its mission to eradicate poverty, reduce inequalities and build resilience to crises and shocks.


“We are already hard at work, together with our UN family and other partners, on three immediate priorities: supporting the health response including the procurement and supply of essential health products, under WHO’s leadership, strengthening crisis management and response, and addressing critical social and economic impacts.” UNDP Administrator, Achim Steiner


UNDP response in the Pacific

We have been supporting countries since the very early stages of this crisis, donating equipment to Fiji's National Disaster Management Office to assist in their efforts to effectively communicate to all stakeholders as they coordinate preparedness and response for COVID-19.

As well setting up a 24-hour counselling helplines for expert counsellors to respond to calls from people under stress due to the nationwide response to COVID-19. Health care workers at the isolation ward in hospitals make up a large percentage of callers, and casual workers who have lost their sources of income under the restrictions – including carpenters, painters, electricians and those working in the tourism sector.

Empower Pacific helpline responds to calls from all over Fiji 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This helpline counselling service aims to respond to people’s stress and anxieties under the current nationwide response to COVID-19 undertaken by the Government.



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