Normally at a community-level, we focus on the following critical handwashing occasions: 

  • Before food preparation

  • Before eating food or feeding a child food

  • After using the toilet

  • After cleaning a child’s bottom. 

Handwashing at these critical occasions should continue to be promoted during the COVID-19 outbreak. However, to interrupt transmission of COVID-19 you should also encourage handwashing at the following additional times: 

  • After coughing or sneezing

  • When entering or leaving the household or any other building

  • After coming into physical contact with anyone outside your household 

  • After touching surfaces when outside the home (e.g. door knobs, railing, money etc)

  • After visiting a public space, including public transportation, markets and places of worship

  • Before, during and after caring for a sick person

There may also be additional times that are relevant in your context. If it is not possible to wash hands immediately after contacting any of the above (e.g. whilst in a public place), care should be taken to avoid touching the face. Hands should be washed immediately after returning home.

Source: Global Handwashing Partnership

Want to know more about COVID-19 and handwashing? 

Editor's note

Author: Sian White
Reviewers: Katie Greenland, Ammar Fawzi
Last update: 13.04.2020

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