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Security Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic

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27 March 2020

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Security Implications of the COVID-19 Pandemic

This document, prepared by CARE International in 2020, explores some of the security implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The events of recent weeks presented a wide range of challenges to the global community as the novel coronavirus and the infection it causes, COVID-19, spread rapidly around the world and was declared a pandemic on 11 March by the World Health Organisation (WHO). The initial response by many governments around the world led to travel restrictions, lockdown and curfews, quarantining, panic-buying, and shortages of medical equipment. The initial flurry of action – or in some cases inaction – has had a major impact on INGO staff and operations globally, forcing new ways of working.

However, once the acute phase passes and the world settles into a period of “new normal” as countries grapple with containment and management, there are likely to be longer-term security implications around the world. These are likely to include increased xenophobia and attacks targeting certain communities, massive and devastating economic impact and concurrent political instability, as well as increases in crime and terrorism. With INGOs exploring new programmatic responses to areas affected by COVID-19, it’s important to plan ahead. This paper forms a starting point to begin previewing some of the emerging challenges.



COVID-19 Resource Collection

This collection of regularly-updated resources for security managers dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic includes interactive maps, datasets and analysis.


Reporting COVID-19-related Incidents

As we move past the initial response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are beginning to see safety and security incidents relating to the spread of the disease, such as the harassment of foreigners.


COVID-19 – Gendered implications by CARE

Two papers by CARE on the gendered implications of COVID-19, based on lessons learned and analysis of prior public health crises in the developing world and humanitarian settings