28 September 2020

Statement - The world is suffering a collective, colossal loss as official COVID-19 death toll set to hit one million

For spokespeople and other enquiries please contact press@redcross.org.uk / 07710 391 703

Alexander Matheou, Executive Director of International at the British Red Cross, said:
“The world is suffering a collective and colossal loss. No one has escaped the devastating effects of this global pandemic. Many have lost loved ones or know someone who has. Many more have lost jobs, struggled to pay the bills or been unable to buy enough food. Everyone has lost a piece of ‘life as we knew it’.

“From the UK, to Yemen, to the refugee camps of Bangladesh, this virus has not discriminated. But if we have gained anything from this virus, it is the certainty that we are more connected than we ever imagined. We must continue to have the hope that, if we all pull together, we can turn the tide of the pandemic, support the most vulnerable through this crisis and learn lessons about how we can better protect each other and our environment in the future. 

“The safety of each individual is critical for the safety of the entire world and sadly, we know all too well that the least protected will be the most affected. We must continue to stand together to ensure that no one is left behind.”


The British Red Cross is part of the largest humanitarian network: the Red Cross Red Crescent Movement. Volunteers and staff have been working in communities long before this pandemic hit and remain committed to supporting people through these difficult times. From providing emergency cash grants in the UK, to setting up a COVID-19 hospital in Yemen, to sending out thousands of volunteers into the largest refugee camp in the world in Cox’s Bazar, Red Cross Red Crescent teams are helping to save lives and keep people safe and will continue to be there for as long as they’re needed.

To support the global COVID-19 response, you can donate to the British Red Cross Global Coronavirus Appeal.

Notes to editors

162 Red Cross Red Crescent National Societies are responding to the COVID-19 pandemic globally.

  • In the UK, the British Red Cross has set up a special support line. This is in operation daily from 10am-6pm and can be reached on 0808 196 3651 or SupportLine@redcross.org.uk. We are also supporting the NHS in hospitals, helping patients return home following a hospital stay, and providing ambulance support. Our volunteers and staff are embedded in communities, working alongside other charities and organisations to deliver food and other essentials.
  • In Yemen, where 80% of the country’s population needs aid to survive and where only 51% of health facilities are functioning, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), with other Red Cross partners and the Yemen Red Crescent Society (YRCS), has set up a COVID-19 field hospital in Aden.
  • In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Red Crescent Society (BDRCS) has opened two Integrated Isolation and Treatment Centres, with funding from the British Red Cross. Thousands of volunteers are trying to help keep people stay safe, in a crowded, squalid environment, where there is little access to clean water.
  • In Syria, the Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC), with the support of the ICRC, is delivering primary health services, helping people to get access to clean water and food and disinfecting public facilities. They are also adapting the hospital in Al Hol camp, as it continues to offer critical medical services.


COVID19 death toll set to hit one million