WHO Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Latest Results
Yemen reported its first case of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
• WHO has developed the following definition for reporting COVID deaths: a
COVID-19 death is defined for surveillance purposes as a death resulting from
a clinically compatible illness in a probable or confirmed COVID-19 case, unless
there is a clear alternative cause of death that cannot be related to COVID
disease (e.g., trauma). There should be no period of complete recovery
between the illness and death.
• WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros, in a press conference held yesterday,
highlighted the issue of planning the transition out of stay-at-home
restrictions: “WHO wants to see restrictions lifted as much as anyone. At the
same time, lifting restrictions too quickly could lead to a deadly resurgence.”
For more information, please see here.
• WHO has updated its Q&A page on COVID-19 to provide information of how
the virus spreads and how it is affecting people worldwide. For more details,
please see here.
• To date, there are a limited number of publications and national situation
reports that provide information on the number of healthcare worker (HCW)
infections. Understanding infection in HCWs is critical to informing the
specific infection prevention and control measures needed to protect HCWs
from infection. For more details, please see ‘Subject in Focus’ below.
Healthcare workers (HCWs) play an essential role at the front lines, providing care for patients. In the context of
COVID-19 and during routine health services, they provide critical care to patients and ensure that infection
prevention and control (IPC) measures are implemented and adhered to in healthcare facilities in order to limit
As of 8 April 2020, 22 073 cases of COVID-19 among HCWs from 52 countries had been reported to WHO. However,
at the present time, there is no systematic reporting of HCW COVID-19 infections to WHO and therefore this number
probably under-represents the true number of COVID-19 HCW infections globally.
To date, there are a limited number of publications and national situation reports that provide information on the
number of HCW infections. For example, a publication from China CDC on 44 672 confirmed cases as of 17 February
2020 indicated 1688 (3.8%) infections were among HCWs, including five deaths.1
In Italy, a situation report from 10
April 2020 reported 15 314 infections among HCW, representing 11% of all infections at that time.2
publications have described the epidemiological and clinical characteristics of infections among HCWs.
3-7 While many
infections are indicated as mild, severe outcomes, including deaths, among HCWs have also been reported.
Understanding infection in HCWs is critical to informing the specific IPC measures needed to protect HCWs from
infection. A limited number of publications have identified risk factors for infection among HCWs. Preliminary results
suggest HCWs are being infected both in the workplace and in the community, most often through infected family
In healthcare settings, factors associated with HCW infection have included: late recognition or suspicion
of COVID-19 in patients, working in a higher-risk department, longer duty hours, sub-optimal adherence to IPC
measures such as hand hygiene practices, and lack of or improper use of personal protective equipment (PPE).9-10
Other factors have also been documented, such as inadequate or insufficient IPC training for respiratory pathogens,
including the COVID-19 virus, as well as long exposure in areas in healthcare facilities where large numbers of COVID19 patients were being cared for.
To prevent infection in healthcare settings, WHO recommends the use of contact and droplet precautions by HCWs
caring for patients with COVID-19.11 WHO also recommends that airborne precautions be applied in settings in which
procedures and support treatments that generate aerosols are performed.11 In this context, the correct use of PPE is
critical, in particular wearing appropriate PPE for the clinical setting, paying special attention to procedures to put on
and remove PPE correctly, and adhering to hand hygiene and other IPC measures. When these precautions are
applied correctly and consistently, alongside standard precautions and administrative, engineering and
environmental controls, the risk for HCW infections is substantially reduced or avoided altogether.
WHO has also developed a risk assessment tool for exposed HCWs in a healthcare facility12 and a seroepidemiological protocol to determine risk factors for infection among HCW,13 and is finalizing an in- depth
epidemiological surveillance tool for HCW infections. A number of countries are currently using these tools and
protocols, and this information will be essential to understand the extent of infection among HCWs, the extent of
transmission within healthcare facilities and the best approaches to protect HCWs against infection.
Finally, as HCWs caring for patients with COVID-19 are subject to long working hours, fatigue, occupational burn-out,
stigma, physical and psychological violence, and back injury from patient handling, it is important that efforts be
made to maintain the physical and mental health of HCWs and the quality of care. Therefore, WHO recommends
that IPC measures be complemented by occupational safety and health measures, psycho-social support, adequate
staffing levels, and clinical rotation, to reduce the risk of burn-out, for safe and healthy working environments and to
respect the rights of health workers to decent working condition
Source: World Health Organization (WHO)