On 30 January 2020, WHO announced that the COVID-19 outbreak was a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Initially, most cases were reported from China and among individuals with travel history to China. Please refer to the latest situation reports for COVID-19.
COVID-19 is an acute respiratory illness caused by a novel human coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2, called COVID-19 virus), which causes higher mortality in people aged ≥60 years and in people with underlying medical conditions such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, diabetes and cancer.
Long-term care facilities (LTCFs), such as nursing homes and rehabilitative centers, are facilities that care for people who suffer from physical or mental disability, some of who are of advanced age. The people living in LTCF are vulnerable populations who are at a higher risk for adverse outcome and for infection due to living in close proximity to others. Thus, LTCFs must take special precautions to protect their residents, employees, and visitors. Note that infection prevention and control (IPC) activities may affect the mental health and well-being of residents and staff, especially the use of PPE and restriction of visitors and group activities. For further information on resilience during the time of COVID, see Mental health and psychosocial considerations during COVID-19 outbreak.
This interim guidance is for LTCF managers and corresponding IPC focal persons in LTCF. The objective of this document is to provide guidance on IPC in LTCFs in the context of COVID-19 to 1) prevent COVID-19-virus from entering the facility, 2) prevent COVID-19 from spreading within the facility, and 3) prevent COVID-19 from spreading to outside the facility. WHO will update these recommendations as new information becomes available. All technical guidance for COVID-19 is available online.