Infection prevention and control for health care workers caring for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), caused by the COVID-19 virus, was first detected in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. On 30 January 2020, the WHO Director-General declared that the current outbreak constituted a public health emergency of international concern. Based on the available evidence, the COVID-19 virus is transmitted between people through close contact and droplets, not by airborne transmission. The people most at risk of infection are those who are in close contact with COVID-19 patients or who care for COVID-19 patients.

Preventive and mitigation measures are key in both healthcare and community settings. The most effective preventive measures in the community include:

  • Performing hand hygiene frequently with an alcohol-based hand rub if your hands are not visibly dirty or with soap and water if hands are dirty;
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth;
  • practicing respiratory hygiene by coughing or sneezing into a bent elbow or tissue and then immediately disposing of the tissue;
  • Wearing a medical mask if you have respiratory symptoms and performing hand hygiene after disposing of the mask;
  • Maintaining social distance (a minimum of 1 m) from individuals with respiratory symptoms.

Routine person protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers (HCW) caring for patients with suspected or confirmed 2019-nCoV infection:

  • Boots
  • Impermeable aprons, or coverall suits required
  • Disposable medical face masks