Information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic

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Federal Minister for Development Gerd Müller

"Only if we all pull together can we halt the spread of the coronavirus – at home in our own country and throughout the world."

Development Minister Gerd Müller

Halting the spread of the coronavirus – at home and worldwide

The coronavirus pandemic is the biggest global health crisis in decades. We need to slow down and ultimately stop the spread of the coronavirus, both in Germany and worldwide.

The people living in our developing partner countries are facing much the same challenges as we are. However, many countries, in particular in Africa, are ill-equipped to cope with the pandemic because of their weak health care systems. The World Health Organisation (WHO) is warning that the health systems in African countries will be rapidly overwhelmed if the coronavirus spreads across a wide area.

That is why we are seeking specifically to boost the health system infrastructure in developing countries by assisting with hygiene measures and the training of medical staff, and by providing special training in how to detect the virus and treat those who are infected. These measures are intended to help slow down the spread of the virus, save lives and keep the economic fallout as small as possible in the countries affected by the pandemic.

Deployment of the Rapid Deployment Epidemic Prevention Team (SEEG) in Togo, 2016: Lassa fever diagnostics

Experts to help Africa halt the spread of coronavirus

With its development cooperation support, Germany is helping countries in Africa – and Asia too – to detect people who have been infected and to slow down the spread of the virus.

The support it is providing includes:

  • Assistance provided by the "Rapid Deployment Epidemic Prevention Team";
  • Experts from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany‘s public health institute, from the Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine and from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) are currently helping various countries to establish the necessary diagnostics procedures, so that they can detect the virus quickly and reliably;
  • The "Rapid Deployment Epidemic Prevention Team" helped Benin to cope with an outbreak of Lassa fever in 2018. The Team also helped to set up a diagnostics procedure in Central Africa during the Ebola outbreak there.


Test tube tested negative for Covid-19
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Volunteers participating in the weltwärts programme

Under the weltwärts programme, there are currently more than 3,000 volunteers working abroad in some 80 countries. The German Foreign Office has strongly advised that these volunteers return home to Germany as quickly as possible. Germany's Development Ministry notified all sending organisations accordingly on Monday. The Development Ministry is in constant contact with the Foreign Office, German embassies abroad and the sending organisations in order to facilitate the volunteers' return home.

The volunteers working abroad are being contacted via the sending organisation or, in some cases, via the register for emergency contact maintained by each German diplomatic mission abroad. The sending organisations, the Foreign Office and the BMZ are all working to help the volunteers from Germany leave their host countries and return home as soon as possible.

Close relations of volunteers working abroad under the weltwärts programme can find further information about the German government's repatriation efforts on the following (German) website.

If you have further questions, please contact the respective sending organisation direct.

Further information can be found here (PDF 114 KB, in German only).

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