This page will provide links to IM reference material, guidance, standards, templates, and examples of products and services related to COVID-19 preparedness and response activities. It is intended for OCHA IMOs but other humanitarians may find helpful resources.

The page is a living document and will be updated as new information becomes available. Please leave a comment below if you have additional information, comments, suggestions for this page.  More information can be found on the infectious disease events page of the toolbox

Remember this is a health emergency and WHO/Health sector/clusters are leading and playing a vital role in the preparedness and response. They must be part of IMWGs/Networks. For more information is the role of the health sector please see: Infectious Disease Event Toolbox page

Communication Material 

All communications content related to COVID-19 can be found at This includes key messages, remarks by UN senior managers, social media messages, graphic cards, etc.

Humanitarian Icons for COVID-19 

  • The Design & Multimedia Unit (DMU), with contributions from ROAP and the Yemen operation, has released COVID-19 specific icons. They are part of the wider humanitarian icon set that was released in 2018. The new icons include symbols for COVID-19, lockdown, social distancing, infection prevention, testing, infected and case management. There are currently available in AI, SVG and PNG formats. In the AI file, the new icons are under the sections Health and Lockdown.

  • They can all be found on the OCHA Visual Knowledge Base and on dropbox for COVID-19

Offices are encouraged to provide a box on the front page with related COVID-19 guidance material from national responders (e.g. National government, etc.) and global experts (WHO, etc) and if relevant a page dedicated to COVID-19 activities in your country. Templates for both these services are provided in the link below and examples are also available.


The recommendation for country-level 3W is that:

  • OCHA country offices should include humanitarian COVID-19 activities into their existing inter-cluster 3/4/5W.

  • The inter-cluster 3W should now include: non-COVID-19 activities (i.e. area A in the graph-- original HRP activities that are being implemented or new activities such as locust interventions), and COVID-19 non-health (i.e area B in the graph) and COVID-19 health (i.e. area C in the graph) interventions.

  • A “status” field should be included indicating if there is a disruption of existing activities (“ongoing”, “postponed” due to COVID, or “cancelled” due to COVID).

  • A new field should be added indicating if an activity is specific to “COVID-19” or “non-COVID-19”. Entities submitting 3W data may determine which option to select according to the funding for their project, if earmarked for COVID-19, or see point 35 in the HRP Q&A.

  • Some clusters are standardizing a COVID-19 set of activities at global level. These should be used at country level. For other clusters, encourage country-level clusters to standardize and align with the monitoring framework.

  • In countries where there is a 3W specific to the PRP, the OCHA country office should liaise with the entity managing the PRP 3W (if not done by OCHA) on the data submission process, so that organizations do not have to double-report if there is an overlap with the inter-sector 3W.

  • An example 3W template can be found here


  • Frequency, format, and timing with current 3W collection

  • COVID-19 Activities and HPC Tools

  • Geographic framework (COD-AB, PCodes vs Health Zones)

  • Roles and responsibilities

  • Overlap with WHO health-related activities

  • Connection to monitoring 



Case Studies

Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Regional Office of West and Central Africa

  • Preparedness 4W is based on Bangkok approach but uses health zones instead of administrative boundaries as its geographic framework. as well as a 3W based on ROWCA approach.

Regional Office of Latin America and the Caribbean

  • The office sent a survey using 345W to its usual humanitarian partner list. The survey tracks which agencies are doing) which of the nine response activities from the WHO Global response plan. The resulting infographic from this information is on ReliefWeb.

Global 3W  (Headquarters)

  • The Field Information Section of OCHA in Geneva is compiling basic 3W information from offices to create a global dataset and dashboard. Updating frequency will be ad-hoc based on data availability.

Datasets and Data Repositories

There are many locations to find data related to COVID. Remember HDX is doing some of this searching for you and have created a dedicated page for COVID-19. IMWG partners should be consulted for the most recent information available at the national level and for details of the processes. See other links below.


Stay tuned!  Discussions underway and more info coming

  • The GHRP indicators are in the published document, and also in the Annex. This should be the basis for any structured monitoring of the COVID-19 response. Note that for all Health interventions and anything else covered by the national PRPs / global SPRP, the WHO monitoring framework (8 pillars) also needs to be used.



More info coming as it becomes available.

  • The decision to issue a Situation Report or Flash Update on COVID-19 rests with the Head of Office, who should also clear the final product. As general guidance, OCHA information products on COVID-19 should include more than just health updates covered by WHO. 

  • A Flash Update is intended to be a short update on a fast-developing situation, usually issued at the beginning of an acute crisis. A Situation Report provides more details and organizes information by sector and other categories. Ideally, Flash Updates should quickly transition into full Situation Reports as more information becomes available (or cease publication if the crisis has passed).

  • If creating a Situation Report or Flash Update on COVID-19, please use the digital sitrep platform (DSR) if this has already been adopted in your office. If your office hasn't adopted the DSR and would like to, please contact Andrej Verity ( and Joanna Misiura ( We encourage you to use the DSR, as this will also help streamline aggregation of reports across offices. Please see a DSR best-practice example here

  • If your office does not want to use the DSR, please ensure you're using the most recent narrative templates for Situation Reports or Flash Updates, all templates can be found here.  Once published, send your SitRep or Flash Update to ReliefWeb ( with the COVID-19 tag.



IMWGs should still try to meet virtually if possible to agree upon the CODs, tools, processes for COVID-19 preparedness and response.

Other standards


  • For all documents, data sets, and communications use the tag COVID-19 to allow for easier searching and if possible include the glide number EP-2020-000012-001 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak - Jan 2020

GLIDE Number

  • The GLIDE number for the COVID-19 Response is EP-2020-000012-001 This is being used by Reliefweb. It can be added to products as part of the credits or metadata in HDX. 

  • There are also GLIDE numbers for specific outbreaks (locations/countries) see the GLIDE site for more info (hint: filter by 'epidemics')

WHO Pillars for COVID-19 Response

IASC COVID-19 Guidance

  • The IASC Principals are prioritizing the release of critical guidance to support its members and the broader humanitarian community in their ability to continue to deliver humanitarian assistance during a COVID-19 outbreak. Eight interim guidance documents on COVID-19, have been developed jointly by a number of the IASC members and/or IASC Reference Groups. IASC Guidance here

Sphere standards

  • Specific Sphere standards have been developed or identified for COVID-19 response. See the specific list and guidance on here: Sphere Standards for COVID-19

Style Guide

  • Definition from the World Health Organization: Coronaviruses

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered coronavirus causes coronavirus disease COVID-19.  COVID-19 is the name given by the World Health Organization for the disease caused by the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. COVID-19 is an acronym that stands for coronavirus disease of 2019.

Referring to simply the coronavirus is acceptable on first reference in writing about COVID-19. While the phrasing incorrectly implies that there is only one coronavirus, it is clear in this context. Also acceptable on first reference: the new coronavirus; the new virus; COVID-19

Do not refer simply to coronavirus without the article the. Not: She is concerned about coronavirus. Omitting the is acceptable in headlines and in uses such as: He said coronavirus concerns are increasing.

All weekly style tips can be found on the OCHA Hub, within the Strategic and Communications Branch (SCB) site.

  • Health care

Health care is a noun; health-care is an adjective.


  • The majority of people have no access to health care. (noun)

  • Health-care programmes are now active in the south. (adj.)

Support to OCHA offices 

If you have questions or require support please contact the FIS Team, who will provide many services to OCHA offices. To see the full list see: 

  • COVID-19 GLIDE number: EP-2020-000012-001 (For all documents, data sets, and communications use the tag COVID-19 to allow for easier searching and if possible include the glide number)