Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has shifted her focus towards the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak by launching a children's rights campaign. 

The teenager has joined up with Danish non-governmental organisation Human Act to support UNICEF’s response to the pandemic. 

Human Act and the Greta Thunberg Foundation have contributed an initial donation of $200,000 (€183,000) towards addressing food shortages, healthcare system overrun, violence and lost education. 

"Like the climate crisis, the coronavirus pandemic is a child-rights crisis. It will affect all children, now and in the long-term, but vulnerable groups will be impacted the most," Greta said.

Greta's foundation was recently awarded $100,000 by the Danish NGO for her global activism, which has now been passed on to UNICEF and matched by Human Act.

"So we must now all act together to protect the children and end the devastating consequences of the coronavirus. Children are the future and they must be protected," she added.

The 'Join Greta' campaign is asking for contributions to UNICEF for the provision of essential immunisation services for children, the support of distance learning opportunities, and the access of key supplies for vulnerable populations. 

The United Nations has said while children are largely spared from the direct health effects of the virus, many are feeling profound impacts on their lives. 

A UN policy briefing published in mid-April estimates that 42-66 million children could fall into extreme poverty as result of the crisis this year, on top of the estimated 386 million children already in this position.

It said 188 countries have imposed countrywide school closures, affecting more than 1.5 billion young people.

It adds that economic hardship could result in hundreds of thousands of additional child deaths this year. 

Meanwhile, UNICEF has published a framework for the reopening of schools in the interest of protecting the safety, well-being, and learning of children.

The UN said national governments must promote and safeguard every child's right to an education as established in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. 

It acknowledges incomplete data on the prevalence of the virus in some countries, but that there are considerable risks related to keeping children out of school 

It said the longer maginalised children are out of school, the less likely they are to return. 

"Children from the poorest households are already almost five times more likely to be out of primary school than those from the richest," a statement said. 

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UNICEF said that being out of school increases the risk of violence and sexual exploitation, along with impacts on mental health. 

It called for rapid response surveys of school and local leaders, parents, and students to gather information on how people are coping with closures. 

Decision makers should consider the capacity of schools to maintain safe operation, the level of exposure of at-risk groups with the school population, and other community-related risk factors. 

The framework offers advice in four main areas: safe operations, learning, inclusion, and well-being. 

It outlines what it determines to be the best approach prior to reopening, during the reopening process, and with schools reopened. 

Advice includes investment in and the promotion of sanitation equipment, increased capacity for teacher training and remote learning, and equipping teachers with tools to meet students' psychosocial needs. 

UNICEF also advises the consideration of waiving less important examinations and the waiving of school fees wherever possible.