COVID-19 (corona virus) – a message to our readers

On 18 February 2020 in Beijing in China, after coming home, Xiaoyu washes her hands with soap. She said her teacher shared some health guidance on how to prevent infection in her class’ group chat. Xiaoyu starts the day at 8 AM. She logs in to an online platform launched by the Ministry of Education (MOE) and the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology. For those who have limited internet access, they will learn from TV. By 4 PM Xiaoyu will have attended six classes. Breaks and exercises are also part of the curriculum. Xiaoyu, an 11th grader in Beijing, is one of the hundreds of millions who is learning from home using her digital device and an internet connection. “Compared with normal schooling, online learning is less effective to me. At school, I can approach teachers at any time if I have questions, and I can also discuss with my classmates,” Xiaoyu says. “I miss my friends,” she says. “We sometimes talk about the outbreak and when school will start. Staying at home for such a long time is so boring.” Xiaoyu continues, “When I first learned the news about the postponing of spring semester, I was happy about the extended holiday. But now I just want to go back to school.” More than 180 million primary and secondary school students across China went online or switched on TV to attend class. The spring semester, originally scheduled to start on 17 February 2020, was postponed in an effort to contain the outbreak of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). As of 29 January 2020 the emergence of the novel coronavirus has infected more than 6,000 people in China and other parts of the world since the outbreak began in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Some cases of infection among children had also been reported. Investigations are ongoing to identify a zoonotic (animal) source of the infection, potentially from markets handling various animals. There is human-to-human transmission, including infection of health workers and close contacts. UNI

THE global COVID-19 (corona virus) pandemic has resulted in an outpouring of information resources regarding the risks and implications for children and young people.

As more and more countries impose strict measures on the movement of people, there are, not surprisingly, many questions being asked by all those concerned with the health, safety and welfare of children and young people. This can be parents, carers, teachers, health and social service professionals, administrators, and many, many others.

Online information resources

Child in the City aims to help you sift through and filter the glut of information currently available, and we are basing our information on that supplied by the key global organisations concerned with children’s rights, such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Childrens’ Fund (UNICEF).

The WHO and UNICEF are working together to maintain a wealth of online information resources dedicated to corona virus. They say that knowing the facts is key to being properly prepared, and that misinformation during a health crisis like the one we now face leaves people unprotected and vulnerable to the disease.

Click here to visit the main WHO page on COVID-19, which includes:

Good handwashing remains a vital part of the official advice, and UNICEF has published a dedicated page which explains how people should be washing their hands, and how they can help children to do it properly.

Despite some reports in the media of children, and even babies, becoming infected with the disease, the WHO’s official advice is that Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild, especially for children and young adults.

Many countries have closed all schools

Older persons and persons with pre-existing medical conditions (such as high blood pressure, heart disease, lung disease, cancer or diabetes)  appear to develop serious illness more often than others. Furthermore, about one in every five people who catch it need hospital care. It is therefore quite normal for people to worry about how the COVID-19 outbreak will affect them and their loved ones.

Many countries have now completely closed all schools and childcare facilities, the latest being the Netherlands, and it is almost certain that many more will follow. Some US states have already closed all schools. Each country’s government is maintaining its own online information resources regarding the measures being taken, including, naturally, the implications for those working with children in cities.

Many of our readers will, by the nature of the work they do, already be adapting their work patterns based on official advice in their respective countries. We would welcome any feedback and/or experiences you might have regarding what is happening in your particular area of expertise, so please keep in touch with us at

Author: Simon Weedy

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