Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): What parents should know

How to protect yourself and your children.

Rửa tay thường xuyên bằng dung dịch rửa tay khô có cồn hoặc bằng xà phòng và nước sạch
UNICEF Viet Nam\Truong Viet Hung
07 February 2020

COVID-19 – otherwise known as novel coronavirus – has been dominating the headlines recently. While it is spreading quickly across parts of Asia and beyond, there are simple precautions you can take to reduce the risk of infection and transmission.  

Tips to reduce risk of infection

What is a ‘novel’ coronavirus?

A novel coronavirus (CoV) is a new strain of coronavirus.

The disease caused by the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China, has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) – ‘CO’ stands for corona, ‘VI’ for virus, and ‘D’ for disease. Formerly, this disease was referred to as ‘2019 novel coronavirus’ or ‘2019-nCoV.’

The COVID-19 virus is a new virus linked to the same family of viruses as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and some types of common cold.

How dangerous is it?

Like other respiratory illnesses, it can cause mild symptoms including a runny nose, sore throat, cough, and fever. It can be more severe for some persons and can lead to pneumonia or breathing difficulties and organ failure. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

Should I wear a medical mask?

While wearing a medical mask can help in limiting the spread of some diseases including the COVID-19, it alone will not stop infection. Washing hands and avoiding contact with potentially infected individuals is the best way to reduce the risk of infection.

Are children at risk?

It is possible for people of any age to be infected with the virus, but it is important to note that so far there have been no reported fatalities of children linked to the COVID-19 virus. The virus is fatal in rare cases, mainly with older people with pre-existing medical conditions.

However, there are significant secondary impacts on children, particularly for children in poor urban areas. These impacts also include school closures, recently witnessed in Mongolia.

“This coronavirus is spreading at a breakneck speed and it is important to put all the necessary resources into halting it. We may not know enough about the virus’s impact on children or how many may be affected – but we do know that close monitoring and prevention are key. Time is not on our side.”

UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore

How does the COVID-19 virus spread?

The virus is transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets of an infected person (generated through coughing and sneezing), and touching surfaces contaminated with the virus. The COVID-19 virus may survive on surfaces for several hours, but simple disinfectants can kill it.

What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

Symptoms can include fever, cough and shortness of breath. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia or breathing difficulties. More rarely, the disease can be fatal. 

These symptoms are similar to the flu (influenza) or the common cold, which are a lot more common than COVID-19. This is why testing is required to confirm if someone has COVID-19. It’s important to remember that key prevention measures are the same – frequent hand washing, and respiratory hygiene (cover your cough or sneeze with a flexed elbow or tissue, then throw away the tissue into a closed bin). Also, there is a vaccine for the flu – so remember to keep yourself and your child up to date with vaccinations

How can I avoid the risk of infection?

Here are four precautions you and your family can take to avoid infection:

  1. Wash your hands frequently using soap and water or an alcohol-based hand rub 
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue, when coughing or sneezing, and throw away the tissue into a closed bin
  3. Avoid close contact with anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms
  4. Go to the doctor if you have a fever, cough or feel that it is difficult to breathe
Những việc bé nên và không nên làm để phòng chống COVID-19

[English below] Các bạn ơi, hiện nay có rất nhiều thông tin cần phải nhớ về COVID-19 phải không nào? Đừng lo lắng, hãy xem video dưới đây của UNICEF và ghi nhớ 9 việc nên và không nên làm để phòng chống COVID-19 nhé! Chúc các bạn luôn khỏe mạnh nha! Để biết thêm thông tin về COVID-19, vui lòng truy cập: There's a lot of information about COVID-19 that we need to remember right? Don't worry, let's watch UNICEF's video below and keep in mind 9 activities that you should and shouldn't do to fight COVID-19. Stay healthy everyone! For more information, please visit:

Posted by UNICEF Viet Nam - Quỹ Nhi Đồng Liên Hợp Quốc on Tuesday, March 10, 2020


How can I help?

You can join the fight against Covid-19 by spreading facts, not fear!

Especially you can spread the dance, not the disease 💪. @im.quangdang 💙 #coronavirus #covid19 #ghencovychallenge 
Music: Ghen Cô Vy (Vũ Điệu Rửa Tay) - Khắc Hưng, MIN, ERI

Quang Đăng và các bạn nhỏ thực hiện vũ điệu rửa tay

[English Below] Các bạn ơi nhớ rửa tay sạch và thường xuyên để thổi bay COVID-19 nhé! 🧼 Cảm ơn Quang Đăng và các bạn nhỏ! #VuDieuRuaTay __ Wash your hands clean and frequently to prevent #coronavirus! 🧼 Thank Quang Dang and kids for helping UNICEF make this video! #GhenCoVyChallenge

Posted by UNICEF Viet Nam - Quỹ Nhi Đồng Liên Hợp Quốc on Thursday, March 12, 2020


What is UNICEF doing?

A UNICEF shipment of respiratory masks and protective suits for health workers landed in Shanghai, China, at the end of January to support China’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Weighing 6 metric tons, the supplies were sent from UNICEF’s global supply hub in Copenhagen and will be dispatched to Wuhan. UNICEF will be sending more items in the coming days and weeks.

For more information about the virus, visit the WHO website

Follow UNICEF on FacebookInstagram and Twitter 

#GhenCoVyChallenge [Handwashing Challenge]

[English Below] Liên Hợp Quốc tại Việt Nam chấp nhận thử thách Vũ Điệu Rửa Tay 🇺🇳🧼 Các bạn nhớ thực hiện các biện pháp sau để bảo vệ mình và những người xung quanh trước COVID-19 nhé: 🧼 Rửa tay thường xuyên với xà phòng và nước sạch hoặc nước rửa tay khô ít nhất 20 giây 🤧 Che miệng và mũi bằng khuỷu tay khi ho và hắt hơi 🤒 Tránh tiếp xúc với người có dấu hiệu cảm cúm, ho hoặc sốt 👩‍⚕️ Đi khám bác sỹ nếu có các dấu hiệu ho, sốt hoặc khó thở 🐖 Không tiếp xúc với gia súc, gia cầm và động vật hoang dã 💙 Lan toả lòng nhân ái chứ không phải sự sợ hãi. Không kỳ thị hay phân biệt đối xử với những người có dấu hiệu cảm cúm, ho hoặc sốt. Tìm hiểu thêm: __ The United Nations in Viet Nam accepted #GhenCoVyChallenge 🇺🇳🧼! Don’t forget to follow super simple precautions to protect yourself and reduce the risk of spreading infection: 🧼 Wash your hands frequently with soap and clean water or alcohol-based sanitizer for at least 20 seconds 🤧 Cover your mouth and nose if you cough or sneeze with the inside of your elbow 🤒 Avoid close contact with anyone who has a cold or flu-like symptoms 👩‍⚕️ Seek medical care early if you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing 🐖 Avoid close contact with farm and wild animals 💙 Spread kindness not fear. Do not discriminate anyone who has cold or flu-like symptoms. Learn more: #HandwashingDance

Posted by UNICEF Viet Nam - Quỹ Nhi Đồng Liên Hợp Quốc on Friday, March 6, 2020