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Water, sanitation, hygiene, and waste management for the COVID-19 virus

2. Treatment and handling requirements for excreta.

Best WASH practices, particularly handwashing with soap and clean water, should be strictly applied and maintained because these provide an important additional barrier to COVID-19 transmission and to the transmission of infectious diseases in general. Consideration should be given to safely managing human excreta throughout the entire sanitation chain, starting with ensuring access to regularly cleaned, accessible, and functioning toilets or latrines and to the safe containment, conveyance, treatment, and eventual disposal of sewage.

When there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the home setting, immediate action must be taken to protect caregivers and other family members from the risk of contact with respiratory secretions and excreta that may contain the COVID-19 virus. Frequently touched surfaces throughout the patient’s care area should be cleaned regularly, such as beside tables, bed frames and other bedroom furniture. Bathrooms should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day. Regular household soap or detergent should be used for cleaning first and then, after rinsing, regular household disinfectant containing 0.5% sodium hypochlorite (that is, equivalent to 5000 ppm or 1-part household bleach with 5% sodium hypochlorite to 9 parts water) should be applied. PPE should be worn while cleaning, including mask, goggles, a fluid-resistant apron, and gloves, 29 and hand hygiene with an alcohol-based hand rub or soap and water should be performed after removing PPE.

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