MSF stands ready to support response to novel coronavirus epidemic

White flag with red logo of Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) against sunny blue sky

© Valérie Batselaere/MSF

Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) epidemiologists and infectious disease experts are following the fast-evolving development of the outbreak of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). According to the World Health Organization, there are more than 28,276 confirmed cases, more than 99 percent of which are in mainland China; 565 people have died.

We have offered support to health authorities in mainland China and Hong Kong who are leading the respective response efforts—similar to what we did in 2003 during the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which was caused by a related type of coronavirus. These previous activities included training of health care staff on methods to prevent and control infections and health education. 

MSF teams around the world stand ready to support health authorities to deal with the epidemic.

In Southeast Asia, MSF is in touch with national authorities to assess the types of support needed. This could mean donations of medical equipment and supplies, including thermometers and masks. In countries where MSF is already running medical projects—including Cambodia, Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, and Bangladesh—MSF is working to revise and strengthen measures to prevent the transmission of the disease to its teams and within its facilities.

In other countries with weak or under-resourced health systems, including in parts of sub-Saharan Africa, MSF is ready to provide support to authorities to manage potential cases of coronavirus and contain the epidemic.