WHO Recommends Universal Public Handwashing Access

The World Health Organization published new handwashing and hand hygiene guidelines that are designed to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

According to the guidelines, countries should make it a goal to place hand hygiene stations — either alcohol-based rubs or soap and water — at the entrance and exit of every public building, commercial building, and transit centers such as bus stops and train stations.

Use of the stations should be a requirement for entrance into buildings and public transport, WHO recommends.

WHO adds that government public health agencies should coordinate the hand hygiene efforts and delegate the responsibility for implementation to building managers.

Clean hands are a first line of defense against spreading the new coronavirus, yet many people face barriers to hygienic practices. WHO and UNICEF estimate that some 3 billion people do not have handwashing facilities at home.

“We recommend handwashing and physical distancing, but we also recognize this can be a practical challenge for those who lack access to clean water, or who live in cramped conditions,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the World Health Organization director-general.

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