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Critical preparedness, readiness and response

Name of documentReference to older peopleLast updated
Investing in and building longer-term health emergency preparedness during the COVID-19 pandemicPreparedness should be across the life-course
- Sustainable empowerment of populations needs to adopt a life-course approach – from children and adolescents to adults and older people. Professionals, such as doctors, nurses, midwives and teachers, should also be educated and trained on health emergency and disaster risk management and resilience-building.
6 Jul 2020
Preparedness for cyclones, tropical storms, tornadoes,floods and earthquakes during the COVID-19 pandemicNo specific reference to older people29 Jun 2020
Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19No specific reference to older people24 Jun 2020
Monitoring and evaluation frameworkIndicators have been regrouped around nine pillars and one thematic area:
- Pillar 6: Infection prevention and control
• Percentage of countries with Long-Term Care Facilities (LTCF) that have a national policy and/or guideline on IPC for COVID 19 in LTCF

Rationale for use:
- LTCFs, such as nursing homes, are facilities that care for people who are care dependent due to physical or mental disability, some of whom are of advanced age. LTCFs are not present in all countries.
- Given the congregate nature and residents served (e.g., older adults with multiple medical conditions), nursing home populations are at the highest risk of being affected by COVID 19. If infected, residents are at increased risk of serious illness and mortality. In countries where LTCFs exist, national policy and guidelines on IPC are essential to take special precautions to protect the older adults, employees, and visitors in the LTCF.
5 Jun 2020
Operational planning guidance to support country preparedness and responsePillar 2: Risk communication and community engagement (RCCE)
- Step 1: [along with other points] Prepare local messages based on the latest evidence-based messaging from WHO, and pre-test through a participatory process that specifically targets key stakeholders and is tailored to all sub-population groups (e.g., living with disability, children, women, men, and elderly people)
Pillar 7: Case management
- Special considerations and programs should be implemented for vulnerable populations (elderly patients; patients with chronic diseases; pregnant and lactating women; children; and residents of long-term facilities)
• Evaluate implementation and effectiveness of case management procedures and protocols (including for pregnant women, children, elderly patients, and immunocompromised patients), and adjust guidance and/or address implementation gaps as necessary
22 May 2020
Overview of Public Health and Social Measures in the context of COVID-19Special protection measures aim to protect special populations and vulnerable groups:
- Persons at risk for more serious illness from COVID-19 (e.g. older people, persons with underlying medical conditions)
- Shelter-in-place advice for older age groups
- Protect closed settings - seniors’ residences, long-term or psychiatric care, prisons
- Limit visitors or allow visits only with safe distancing
- Plan for migrants, refugees, displaced or homeless
- Separation from others if appropriate to context and can be done safely and voluntarily
- In special settings, identify and plan for those at higher risk, e.g. in shops, public transport, hospitals
- Encourage communities to support the elderly, sick, or vulnerable
- Encourage social interaction by virtual means
- Orient social and community services to enhance resilience of communities
- Establish priority access to shops, markets for those who need it, e.g. early morning hours reserved for the elderly and the vulnerable
18 May 2020
ublic health criteria to adjust public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19No specific reference to older people12 May 2020
Considerations for public health and social measures in the workplace in the context of COVID-19- Avoid assigning tasks with high risk to workers who have pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant, or older than 60 years of age.10 May 2020
Considerations for school-related public health measures in the context of COVID-19- Advise against crowding during school pick-up or day care, and if possible avoid pick up by older family or community members (e.g. grandparents)10 May 2020
Preparedness for cyclones, tropical storms, tornadoes, floods and earthquakes during the COVID-19 pandemicNo specific reference to older people29 Apr 2020
Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban SettingsTo be effective, any public health measure must be implementable and designed in a way that will promote willingness to comply. Urban authorities should:
- identify and equitably protect vulnerable subpopulations at risk of poorer outcomes (see Table 1) and identify partners who may be able to reach out to these people. This includes considering the likely impact of the pandemic and public health measures on mental health and introducing safeguards, as well as the continued provision of essential social services.
- The presence of pressing health vulnerabilities and social disparities requires that they address the needs of the most vulnerable populations and build resilience in an inclusive manner
Why urban settings are unique
- Urban areas also have diverse subpopulations and neighbourhoods with different sociocultural needs and vulnerable groups with regards to public health emergencies, including COVID-19, i.e.:
• Older persons, especially those at risk of isolation
• Persons with underlying medical conditions
Risk and crisis communication and community engagement that encourage compliance with measures
- Municipal police in some cities in Turkey have been taking food orders from elderly people and delivering them to their homes. Likewise, the Tunis municipality has been home delivering essential food to vulnerable populations to strengthen compliance with the general lockdown
- Communications should be paired with active community involvement and the co-creation of solutions, such as the mobilization of volunteers through civil society organizations, civil protection and universities for the rapid deployment of knowledge and innovation. These can improve the chances of compliance, especially among vulnerable populations.
- Cities and other urban settlements should consider leveraging their advantage in the delivery of essential services, including food supply, WASH, health and social services in densely populated neighbourhoods, especially for vulnerable groups.
- Local authorities should also work with organized community groups (e.g. micro-credit groups, women’s and youth networks, those engaged in informal settlements) to identify the most vulnerable within communities, combat misinformation and stigma, and enable access to medical and other essential services.
Contextually appropriate approaches to public health measures, especially physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
- Develop and test possible innovative but pragmatic solutions to limiting physical contact in social settings. This includes alternatives to handshakes, hugs and cheek kissing, as well as closures of schools, religious centres, entertainment venues, and limiting visits to elderly and chronic care centres and prisons
- Cities and urban settings can explore coordination with non-profit and private sectors to mitigate losses in food and agriculture while maintaining access to food, especially for vulnerable subpopulations.
- The Municipality of Barcelona, Spain, finalized an agreement with the Touristic Business Association to allocate 200 apartments, originally destined for tourism, as emergency housing for families in vulnerable situations and homeless29. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil has made rooms available in local hotels to host elderly residents of informal settlements to enable proper physical distancing
Preparing for future emergencies
- In the transition to recovery or to periods between epidemic peaks, cities and urban settlements should ensure that the phased transition away from measures for COVID-19 is conducted in keeping with the considerations described above, and will enable the sustainable suppression of transmission at a lowlevel whilst enabling the resumption of some parts of economic and social life, prioritized by carefully balancing socioeconomic benefit and epidemiological risk. This includes assessing the sustainability and impact of measures, especially for vulnerable groups.
28 Apr 2020
Considerations in adjusting public health and social measures in the context of COVID-19: interim guidanceGuiding principles when considering the adjusting of public health and social measures
- Protection of vulnerable populations should be central in the decision to maintain or lift a measure.
Specific measures for workplaces and jobs at high risk
- Avoid assigning tasks with high risk to workers who have pre-existing medical conditions, are pregnant, or older than 60 years of age
School setting and ability to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures
- When schools are fully or partially open, COVID-19 prevention and control strategies2 should be maintained. Risk assessment could be guided by the considerations below, while recommended actions and requirements are outlined in the following section:
• Are policies and procedures in place for the safety of all school personnel, including considerations to protect high-risk individuals (older persons, persons with underlying medical conditions)?
• Advise against crowding during school pick-up or day care, and if possible avoid pick up by older family or community members (e.g. grandparents)
15 Apr 2020
Strategic preparedness and response planNo specific reference to older people14 Apr 2020
Assessment tool for laboratories implementing COVID-19 virus testing: Interim GuidanceNo specific reference to older people8 Apr 2020
Origin of SARS-CoV-2No specific reference to older people26 Mar 2020
Laboratory testing strategy recommendations for COVID-19: interim guidancePrioritized testing strategies
- Testing in areas with community transmission and in settings where testing capacity cannot meet needs must be prioritized. This prioritization should focus on the early identification and protection of vulnerable patients and health care workers. Focused testing in health care facilities ensures that infection prevention and control measures can be correctly implemented such that vulnerable patients who do not have COVID are protected from nosocomial COVID-19 infection. Testing among vulnerable populations and risk groups will be important for early treatment to minimize progression to severe disease.
21 Mar 2020
Responding to community spread of COVID-19Case management and health services
- Triage systems will be needed to reduce the risk of exposing other persons or patients to COVID-19, to prioritise treatment for severe and high-risk patients and to manage demands on staff, facilities, and supplies
7 Mar 2020
Preparing for large-scale community transmission of COVID-19Assess IPC practices and compliance in healthcare settings and other relevant facilities (for example elderly homes, long-term care facilities, points of entry). Address identified gaps28 Feb 2020
National capacities review tool for a novel coronavirusNo specific reference to older people9 Jan 2020
Draft operational planning guidance for UN country teamsPillar 1: country-level coordination, planning and monitoring (pg 6)
- [step 1 actions to be taken] Conduct initial capacity assessment and risk analysis, including mapping of vulnerable populations
Pillar 7: case management (pg 12)
[step 1 actions to be taken] Map vulnerable populations and public and private health facilities (including traditional healers, pharmacies and other providers) and identify alternative facilities that may be used to provide treatment
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