The provision of safe water, sanitation and hygienic conditions is essential to protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks, including the COVID-19 outbreak. Ensuring good and consistently applied WASH and waste management practices in communities, homes, schools, marketplaces, prisons and health care facilities will further help to prevent human-to-human transmission of the COVID-19 virus.
This Technical Brief supplements existing IPC documents by referring to and summarizing WHO guidance on water, sanitation and health care waste which is relevant for viruses (including coronaviruses). This Technical Brief is written in particular for water and sanitation practitioners and providers.
Current evidence indicates that the COVID-19 virus is transmitted through respiratory droplets or contact. Contact transmission occurs when contaminated hands touch the mucosa of the mouth, nose, or eyes; the virus can also be transferred from one surface to another by contaminated hands, which facilitates indirect contact transmission. Consequently, hand hygiene is extremely important to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus. It also interrupts transmission of other viruses and bacteria causing common colds, flu and pneumonia, thus reducing the general burden of disease.
This document has been prepared based on the evidence currently available about Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) transmission (human-to-human transmission via respiratory droplets or direct contact from an infected individual)
This document is based on the evidence currently available about coronavirus disease (COVID-19) transmission (human-to-human transmission primarily via respiratory droplets from, or direct contact with, an infected individual). It should be used in conjunction with WHO’s Handbook for the Management of Public Health Events in Air Transport.