COVID-19: WHO declares a pandemic, ECDC releases discharge technical guidance

  • World Health Organization
  • World Health Organization
  • 12 Mar 2020

  • curated by Liz Scherer
  • Clinical Essentials
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Takeaway

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic, noting that this assessment is based on case numbers (exceeding 118,000 in 114 countries, 4291 deaths).
  • All countries are urged to activate and scale up emergency response mechanisms.

Why this matters

  • Clinicians are urged to be prepared to “detect, protect, and treat.”

Key points

  • EU/EEA/UK clinicians should consult all ECDC technical documents, including the most recent,  Discharge criteria for confirmed COVID-19 cases :
    • Discharge mild cases, as appropriate, provided patients are under home care.
    • Consider 14-day postdischarge quarantine with regular follow-up and ensure home is equipped for patient isolation, household protection (face masks, distancing, separate meals, hand sanitation, restricted outdoor activities).
    • Significance of oral-fecal route of transmission remains undetermined; advise patients strictly to follow hygienic precautions to prevent household transmission. 
    • Test asymptomatic patients before discharge if tests are available.
  • Among reported cases, >90% are in 4 countries, and significant epidemic declines are occurring in 2 (China, South Korea).
  • WHO states that “all countries can change the course of the pandemic” and prevent community clustering through detection, testing, treatment, isolation, contact tracing, and response mobilization.