COVID-19: PPE guidance evolving as coronavirus understanding grows - expert comment27 March 2020
Dr Al Edwards, an associate professor in Biomedical Technology at the University of Reading said:
"As new guidelines are expected for personal protective equipment to protect healthcare workers on the frontline of the battle against Covid-19, three priorities need to be addressed.
"Firstly, it is critical they must be protected as individuals when they do their vital work. Healthcare workers have died after contracting COVID-19 from patients. No-one should have to experience that level of risk at work.
"Secondly, we need to make sure they stay fit and well so they can continue to do their vital jobs effectively. Without the workforce to treat those suffering with severe symptoms, many more will die from the Covid-19 infection. Finally, it’s critical that healthcare workers are protected from contracting the virus as there is a risk they will spread it to other patients.
"Even if stocks are arriving, it’s a major stress on our medical supply chains to redistribute to so many key workers, but hopefully gaps will be filled as quickly as possible."
Dr Simon Clarke, an associate professor in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading said:
"We've only know about this coronavirus for about three months, so it stands to reason that the PPE guidelines for NHS staff will need to refined as we learn more about the challenges it presents.
"There have been many calls for NHS staff to be equipped with hazmat suits, as has been seen in Italy; it should however be remembered that what we see on our TV screens are often the worse case scenarios and doesn't represent the typical burden on Italian hospitals."