Summary • A pneumonia of unknown cause detected in Wuhan, China was first reported to the WHO Country Office in China on 31 December 2019. • WHO is working 24/7 to analyse data, provide advice, coordinate with partners, help countries prepare, increase supplies and manage expert networks. • The outbreak was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on 30 January 2020. • The international community has asked for US$675 million to help protect states with weaker health systems as part of its Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. • On 11 February 2020, WHO announced a name for the new coronavirus disease: COVID-19. To increase access to reliable information, WHO worked with WhatsApp and Facebook to launch a new WHO Health Alert messaging service today. The WhatsApp-based service will provide vital information about COVID-19 to millions of people through their mobile phones. The services uses an AI chatbot to provide updated information on the pandemic, including how to protect yourself, questions and answers, and the latest news and press coverage. The Health Alert service is now available in English and will be introduced in other languages next week. This is part of WHO's wider initiative to work with technology companies to get accurate health information into the hands of people that need it at this critical time. Speaking at the COVID-19 media briefing, the Director-General emphasized that the virus is capable of community transmission but can be contained with the right measures.