On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic. During the media briefing, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the Director-General of the WHO, said, “In the past two weeks, the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China has increased 13-fold, and the number of affected countries has tripled. There are now more than 118,000 cases in 114 countries, and 4,291 people have lost their lives. Thousands more are fighting for their lives in hospitals. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher.” (read more here)
We have been monitoring the COVID-19 developments, since the outbreak first began. In recent weeks, we have taken all reasonable steps to ensure we reduced the potential of exposure and made preparations, in case we were exposed. This situation is evolving at a fast pace, as the world struggles to control the spread of this virus. This is an unprecedented global event, which requires unprecedented action to safeguard our teams and those we serve.
Our top priority is the health, safety and well-being of our staff, volunteers and the people living in the communities we serve. At All Hands and Hearts, we are suspending all operations for at least two months in response to the global threat of the coronavirus (COVID-19). This proactive measure is intended to minimize the risk COVID-19 poses to staff, volunteers and the people within the communities we serve.
The communities we work within are affected by disasters and are oftentimes lacking the infrastructure necessary to address a public health crisis like the coronavirus. We must take caution to not potentially expose these vulnerable communities to the virus through accidental transmission from our teams.
We will work to coordinate this operational suspension with local communities. We remain committed to finishing the work we began, once the global situation stabilizes.
Volunteers who were scheduled to come to programs are being contacted and will be offered assistance in changing their travel plans. The decision impacts more than 1,500 volunteers and 14 scheduled, disaster-relief programs around the world.
We thank you for your ongoing support and commitment to advancing our mission. We look forward to continuing our vital work when it is safe to do so.
You can get in contact with us at [email protected] if you have any questions about our approach. Visit the World Health Organization website for more information about the coronavirus, how it spreads, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
We’re in this together,