Update on ICAO’s efforts in the international Coronavirus response

​PMERS-CoV particles on camel epithelial cells. Photo courtesy the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in collaboration with Colorado State University.

Montréal, 30 January 2020 – ICAO is continuing to assist in the coordination of the international response to the Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak through the ICAO Collaborative Arrangement for the Prevention and Management of Public Health Events in Civil Aviation, or ‘CAPSCA’ network of governments and international organizations. 

ICAO is also directly transmitting Electronic Bulletins on the Coronavirus to its Member States, and these are also made available for public view on the CAPSCA website. 

With the World Health Organization (WHO) now classifying the Coronavirus as a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), and in light of the fact that civilian air transport is the most widely-used means of international travel, ICAO is strongly urging its Member States to monitor the WHO website for updated information and to adhere to the recommendations and guidance provided by the WHO. 

ICAO is also calling on governments to comply with ICAO’s Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) concerning the preparedness and management of public health emergencies. These were detailed in ICAO’s first Electronic Bulletin dated 24 January. 

States are also advised to implement multi-sector communication and to collaborate with all their relevant stakeholders, at the national and international levels, to keep updated with recent developments in both the aviation and public health sectors. 

“ICAO recognizes the urgent and important value of cooperation, coordination, and reliable information to help control the international spread of contagious outbreaks such as the Coronavirus,” underscored the UN aviation agency’s Secretary General, Dr. Fang Liu. 

“The CAPSCA network is designed for this purpose, and its information is made rapidly available to key global aviation, medical, and travel organizations, as well as being posted online for prompt and easy access by anyone in the world.” 

In addition to the WHO and other public health response bodies such as the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CAPSCA members also include critical organizations involved in the international movement of people and goods such as the International Air Transport Association (IATA), representing scheduled commercial airlines, and the Airports Council International (ACI) for global airports. 

ICAO and WHO outbreak advisories, in addition to separate health and travel advice from CAPSCA members such as the US CDC, IATA, ACI, and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), are also made freely available to be consulted by any government, aviation company, or member of the general public directly from the Coronavirus area of the CAPSCA website

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About ICAO 

A specialized agency of the United Nations, ICAO was created in 1944 to promote the safe and orderly development of international civil aviation throughout the world. It sets standards and regulations necessary for aviation safety, security, efficiency, capacity and environmental protection, amongst many other priorities. The Organization serves as the forum for cooperation in all fields of civil aviation among its 193 Member States. 


CAPSCA website page on Novel Coronavirus information 


Anthony Philbin 

Chief, Communications


+1 514-954-8220 

+1 438-402-8886 (mobile) 

Twitter: @ICAO 

William Raillant-Clark 

Communications Officer 


+1 514-954-6705 

+1 514-409-0705 (mobile) 

Twitter: @wraillantclark


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