Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) technical guidance by WHO Responding to community spread of COVID-19

Responding to community spread of COVID-19 Interim guidance 7 March 2020 health incident management systems should be reviewed to include a whole-of-government and society approach. Although COVID-19 is different from influenza, building on existing Influenza Pandemic Preparedness Plans is a good starting point. Until medical countermeasures for COVID-19 are available, prevention and control strategies will rely on public health measures to reduce transmission. Background On 30 January, the World Health Organization declared the 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak a public health emergency of international concern (PHEIC). As of 4 March 2020, 77 countries have reported cases of COVID-19. Recommended actions Several countries have demonstrated the ability to reduce or stop transmission of the COVID-19 virus. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan for COVID-19 aims to slow and stop transmission, prevent outbreaks and delay spread; provide optimized care for all patients, especially the seriously ill; minimize the impact of the epidemic on health systems, social services and economic activity. Highest priority  Enhance whole-of-society coordination mechanisms to support preparedness and response, including the health, transport, travel, trade, finance, security and other sectors. Involve public health Emergency Operations Centres and other emergency response systems early. A comprehensive package of measures is required for countries to prepare when there are no cases, sporadic cases, clusters of cases, community transmission, or country-wide transmission. The priorities and intensity of work for each technical area will depend on which scenario a country or a sub-national area currently faces. This document provides guidance for responding to community transmission of COVID-19.  Sensitize the public to their active role in the response.  Engage with key partners to develop national and sub-national preparedness and response plans. Build on existing plans such as influenza pandemic preparedness plan.  Enhance hospital and community preparedness plans; ensure that space, staffing, and supplies are adequate for a surge in patient care needs. Secondary priority  Establish metrics and monitoring evaluation systems to assess effectiveness of measures. Document lessons learned to inform on-going and future preparedness and response activities.  Prepare for regulatory approval, market authorization and post-market surveillance of COVID-19 products (e.g. laboratory diagnostics, therapeutics, vaccines), when available. Resources COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan Outlines the strategic actions to guide national and international efforts when developing context-specific national and regional operational plans. Available in English and Russian. This document also compiles technical guidance for government authorities, health workers, and other key stakeholders to guide response to community spread. It will be updated as new information or technical guidance become available. For countries that are already preparing or responding, this document can also serve as a checklist to identify any remaining gaps. The available guidance and trainings are grouped in ten areas: 1. National Coordination 2. Risk communication and community engagement 3. Public health measures 4. Case management and health services 5. Infection prevention and control 6. Surveillance and risk and severity assessments 7. National laboratory systems 8. Logistics, procurement and supply management 9. Maintenance of essential services 10. Research and development Public health emergency operations centre network Contains useful resources for countries activating their public health emergency operations centre. Available in English and French. Training: OpenWHO Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19 Methods for detection, prevention, response and control Available in English, Arabic, Chinese, French, Portuguese, Russian, and Spanish. National coordination Summary It is critical to activate coordination mechanisms as early as possible and well before community transmission occurs widely. Existing national preparedness plans and public - 1-