COVID-19 [info for partners]

What information you can find here

On this page, plan:g lists several sources of information to help you better understanding the ongoing COVID-pandemic. Understanding the current challenges is necessary to be able to react appropriately. We need to learn from one another, in partnership. We share both technical information (medical treatment, public health) and thoughts that are relevant to believers (is COVID-19 a punishment?).

Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is a new type of corona virus that causes coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The virus can be transmitted from person to person. By January 2020, the virus had spread from the city of Wuhan in the Chinese province of Hubei. On 11 March  2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the spread of the coronavirus a pandemic, a global epidemic.

COVID-19 is not only a health crisis. It effects the economy in unprecedented ways. The potential for political confrontations is high. Some EU governments took unilateral actions regarding emergency measures. Others are attempting to benefit politically from the pandemic. In some cases, the crisis is misused as a pretext for destroying democratic checks and balances, social standards, or labor rights.

God cares for anyone. What does that mean today? Church needs to protect and to heal. Church has to take responsibility for the health of individuals, and for democracy and human rights. This is about mercy.

Social distancing, a concept that works well in Europe, is a lot more difficult in places where people live under very different conditions. However, plan: g advocates a break from church services. In many partner countries, people continue to come together for church services. As there is no easy blueprint solution, this site is about the beginning of joint learning. A good practice is the Pan-European Privacy-Preserving Proximity Tracing.  

All links on this site have been tested and are secure. Please note, however,  that there is a growing risk of Internet fraud during this pandemic. 


COVID-19 is a humanitarian crisis. In your response, you need to apply SPHERE-standards.

Build on the the learning experience of the do-no-harm approach and follow your oath: Primum non nocere.  

In recent weeks we received a number of request concerning the manipulation of ventilators in order to allow for multiple treatment of patients. Sharing mechanical ventilators should not be attempted: Please refer to the joint statement of The Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), American Association of Critical‐Care Nurses (AACN) und American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST)Society of Critical Care Medicine (SCCM), American Association for Respiratory Care (AARC), American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA), Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF), American Association of Critical‐Care Nurses (AACN) und American College of Chest Physicians (CHEST).  

MEDBOX developed a COVID-19 toolbox containing the latest situation updates, clinical guidelines, infection and prevention control measures, and infographics for the public. The tool offers resources in multiple languages and is constantly growing.

The Lancet Resource Centre brings together new 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) content from across The Lancet journals as it is published.

Learning in partnership: Catholic perspectives from Austria on power, the virus and G*d

In Austria, the COVID-19 crisis started in Tyrol. Hundreds of tourists contracted SARS-CoV-2 in Ischgl, one of Tyrol’s most popular ski resorts, turning the little town into a COVID-19 hotspot. On 5 March, Iceland officially declared Ischgl a risk area. 

However, it took the local authorities nine additional days to isolate the area. Ski operations continued until 8 March. Skiing is big business!

High-ranking church leaders supported the local government, protecting it against critics with strong and assertive words (via Facebook on 17 March: disgusting [...] notorious know-it-alls [...] make our country sick”; in a church-service for the Tyrolean state holiday, 19 March: the search for those responsible is [...] hurtful, energy-consuming, pathogenic and like poison”. 

Some of these statements have since been revised, showing church in its true color: We can learn.

It is clearly inappropriate to compare people exercising a fundamental right to ask political questions with a disease. The same is true when framing the response to COVID-19 in military terms (Donald Trump’s notorious war against the China virus” being only one example). Language matters. Language is about power. Language can frame certain interpretations and sideline others. It is much easier to resort to heroic narratives of a military mobilisation than to analyse the complexities of the skiing business, environmental protection, health and our own involvement. Do we want to normalise war? Or do we want to reflect our individual being and our being as a church? COVID-19 is a desaster. And yet another indicator to re-assess, as Remco van der Pas put it some years ago, global health in the anthropocene.

In addition to this we highly recommend the following articles, reflecting the discussion within the Austrian catholic church concerning power, the virus and G*d. 

Data: understanding the dynamics of the pandemic.

Information is crucial. As there is a lot of false info around, WHO published a helpful myth buster.

Viruses can grow exponentially, not linearly. Exponential growth defies human understanding. In order to start understanding such a growth, we recommend watching this video (starting from minute 1'20).

The Austrian government publishes a dashboard with daily figures for Austria.
The Robert Koch Institute (RKI) publishes daily information concerning the situation in Germany.
International figures can be found at WHO and at the Johns Hopkins University (JHU).
Check the dashboard of the African Union.

There are some differences between the numbers of RKI, JHU and WHO. This is due to several reasons. Germany is a federal republic. The federal states have their own reporting system. It takes time to accumulate the numbers, to report to Berlin, and to sort out the figures. The data from Johns Hopkins University comes from various sources and can therefore differ from those of RKI and WHO. In general, data inconsistencies in countries like Austria, Italy or Germany are quite small. They do not affect the overall perspective on the development of COVID-19 in Europe in a significant way. It is important to understand that RKI is slower in reporting than JHU, but more accurate on the German situation. However, when it comes to countries with weaker reporting systems, the JHU numbers are more accurate.  

In countries with weaker statistical systems, such as in East Africa or the Arab States Region, the reporting challenges are much bigger. It starts with the availability of testing equipment. As for the statistics of other countries, we advise you to check the relevant sites of the MoHs such as in Uganda, or to have a look at alternative resources (such as Wikipedia for Tanzania). However, it is essential to always cross-check these numbers with those of JHU, which are as of now most accurate for these countries.

Multi-lingual info on the disease (incl. Arabic)

The Austrian okay.zusammen leben provides multi-lingual information. So does the Austrian Federal Ministry of Social Affairs, Health, Care and Consumer Protection.

RKI publishes information on the virus in English

You can find multi-lingual information on COVID-19 at the Ethno-Medical Center Germany.

The German Association for Unaccompanied Refugee Minors (BumF) provides information and a link-list with information in different languages. Notably, BumF links to the Order of Saint John (Johanniter), which provides information in Arabic, English, French or Turkish.

On the German site Infektionsschutz you will find informative videos in Arabic.
The German tageszeitung (taz) publishes comprehensive information on corona for Arabic readers.

Further info

The ACT Alliance provides an updated link-list on the coronavirus outbreak that includes the perspective  of faith based organisations (FBOs).  Relief Web and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) have set up pages dedicated to the outbreak. The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) provides for the Daily Africa Update that tracks cases, government responses, and media coverage on the pandemic in Africa. 

plan:g, together with over 140 other civil society organisations, demands to urgently prioritise international funding support for human resources for health in resource-limited contexts amid COVID-19.

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