The knowledge, capacities and organizational systems developed by governments, response and recover organizations, communities and individuals to effectively anticipate, respond to, and recover from the impacts of likely, imminent, emerging, or current emergencies.

  • Actions which take place before an emergency and increase a facility’s ability to respond when an emergency occurs.
  • All levels: National, regional and facility. Because preparedness is an integral part of health system strengthening and is critical to health emergency disaster risk management.
  • Inadequate IPC measures may lead to transmission to patients, staff, visitors and within the community.

The capacities and the systems that should be in place to enable a rapid, effective response in case of a health emergency disaster (in the current situation: importation of COVID-19 cases) and to be ready to “aggressively” contain the event (outbreak) before further spread. 


The overall goal of the strategic preparedness and response plan is to stop further transmission of 2019-COVID within China and all other countries, and to mitigate the impact of the outbreak in the United States and all other countries.  All employers should plan to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity of an outbreak of COVID-19 and be able to refine their business response plans as needed. While the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low, all employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the U.S. 

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace. Respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly. 


Most health care-associated infections are preventable through good hand hygiene – cleaning hands at the right times and in the right way. The WHO Guidelines on hand hygiene in health care support hand hygiene promotion and improvement in health care facilities worldwide and are complemented by the WHO multi-modal hand hygiene improvement strategy, the guide to implementation, and implementation toolkit, which contain many ready-to-use practical tools. This module has been prepared to help summarize the WHO guidelines on hand hygiene, associated tools and ideas for effective implementation.

  • Hand hygiene is an important part of the U.S. response to the international emergence of COVID-19. Practicing hand hygiene, which includes the use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) or hand washing, is a simple yet effective way to prevent the spread of pathogens and infections in healthcare settings. CDC recommendations reflect this important role.
  • The exact contribution of hand hygiene to the reduction of direct and indirect spread of corona viruses between people is currently unknown. However, hand washing mechanically removes pathogens, and laboratory data demonstrate that ABHR formulations containing 80% ethanol or 75% isopropanol, both of which are in the range of alcohol concentrations recommended by CDC, inactivate SARS-CoV-2.
  • ABHR effectively reduces the number of pathogens that may be present on the hands of healthcare providers after brief interactions with patients or the care environment.



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