The World Health Organisation (WHO) has emphasised the appropriate use of all Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), not only masks, which requires correct and rigorous behaviour from healthcare workers.
The WHO made the recommendation in scientific brief on “Modes of transmission of virus causing COVID-19: implications for IPC precaution recommendations’’, posted on the agency’s website.
The agency said health workers should use PPE, particularly in doffing procedures and hand hygiene practices to protect themselves from contacting the virus.
“WHO also recommends staff training on these recommendations as well as the adequate procurement and availability of the necessary PPE and other supplies and facilities.
“WHO continues to emphasise the utmost importance of frequent hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette, and environmental cleaning and disinfection, as well as the importance of maintaining physical distances.
“The agency emphasises maintaining physical distances and avoidance of close, unprotected contact with people with fever or respiratory symptoms.’’
In addition, it said WHO would continue to recommend droplet and contact precautions for those people caring for COVID-19 patients and contact and airborne precautions for circumstances and settings in which aerosol generating procedures are performed.
According to current evidence, COVID-19 virus is transmitted between people through respiratory droplets and contact routes.
“Droplet transmission occurs when a person is in close contact (within 1 m) with someone who has respiratory symptoms (e.g. coughing or sneezing,)
“The person is therefore at risk of having his/her mucosae (mouth and nose) or conjunctiva (eyes) exposed to potentially infective respiratory droplets.
“Droplet transmission may also occur through fomites in the immediate environment around the infected person.
“Therefore, transmission of the COVID-19 virus can occur by direct contact with infected people and indirect contact with surfaces in the immediate environment or with objects used on the infected person (e.g. stethoscope or thermometer).’’