As the COVID-19 outbreak continues, we've launched a special series and campaign on best practice in environmental hygiene, to accompany the excellent work championing hand hygiene worldwide. Why? Because the benefits of hand-hygiene may be undermined if surfaces are not cleaned, particularly those touched frequently and in many clinical areas. Via thought pieces, evidence, and advice from the experts, we're spreading the message that safe hands and safe surfaces are crucial partners in the fight against infections.
With more than 30,000 people affected by COVID-19, Italy has taken severe strict measures to curb the epidemic. Italians have taken the response in their hands in many ways, from self-isolation, to hand washing.
But what strikes me is the hundreds of individuals cleaning.
From supermarket counters to hospital admission rooms. From reception doors to trains.
The images of individuals cleaning are everywhere. It is very common to hear that cleaning companies are overwhelmed with requests. Extra dedicated personnel appear on transport and various public spaces.
To note is the approach being taken to this cleaning - it's targeted.
Often it is clear that those who clean are targeting what in the healthcare setting are called high-touch surfaces – in other words where hands touch more often and therefore where surface contamination is more likely. Priority areas for cleaning are usually hard surfaces such as door handles, counters, and rails. Italians are using their common sense to clean the surfaces which pose the highest risk to the propagation of the virus.
They have developed a sixth sense for where dirt matters.
Spring cleaning had to start early in Northern Italy this year. Many individuals are taking this simple but very effective preventive measure in their own hands. Let’s hope it sets the example for other affected regions.
There cannot be any complacency as to the need for global action.
With your help, we can plug critical gaps in the understanding of COVID-19. This will support global response efforts and help to save lives around the world.