COVID-19 is an enveloped virus and is part of the family of viruses that includes other recent coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, 2003) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, 2012-2014).1
There is limited information currently available to characterize the illness and transmission of COVID-19. Typical transmission of coronaviruses is between animals. Rarely do coronaviruses evolve to be capable of animal-to-human and human-to-human transmission, such as with SARS and MERS.1 Preliminary data suggests that has been human-to-human transmission of COVID-19. 3 Current WHO guidelines for infection prevention and control are adapted from what is known about MERS and SARS. Specifically the following (4)
• Ensuring triage, early recognition and source control
• Application of Standard precautions for all patients
• Implementation of empiric additional precautions (droplet and contact and whenever applicable airborne precautions) for suspected cases4
• Administrative controls
• Environmental and engineering controls
As new information becomes available, WHO will update these guidelines.
Standard precaution for all patients in infection prevention and control includes environmental disinfection, hand hygiene, and other precautions such as:
• Respiratory hygiene
• The use of personal protective equipment
• Injection safety practices
• Safe waste management
• Proper lines
• Sterilization of patient-care equipment
Standard precaution regarding environmental disinfection for COVID-19 requires the use of a hospital grade surface disinfectant.(3) When used as directed, CaviWipes and CaviCide are effective against human coronavirus.
WHO recommends using alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of personal protective equipment (PPE). Hand hygiene in healthcare settings can also be performed by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water before returning to alcohol-based hand rub. VioNexus No-Rinse Spray is an alcohol-based hand rub used for hand hygiene.(4)
1. CDC. 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China. Accessed 1.27.2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
2. The Washington Post. Coronavirus live update: Accessed 1.29.2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/coronavirus-china-live-updates/2020/01/29/d49b9194-423b-11ea-b503-2b077c436617_story.html
3. CDC. Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals. Accessed 1.29.2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Finfection-control.html
4. WHO. Infection prevention and control during health care when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected. Accessed 1.22.2020. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/20200126-ncov-ipc-during-health-care.pdf?sfvrsn=69e588ce_1&download=true
5. Chicago Tribune. Jan 24 2020. Chicago woman who traveled to China diagnosed with coronavirus, health officials say. Accessed 1.24.2020.
6. Government of Canada. 2019 novel coronavirus: Outbreak update. Accessed 1/30/2020.