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Water News

‘This Is the Time to Act Collectively’: Anticipating Coronavirus Spread, Groups Seek to Scale Up Handwashing and Hygiene Efforts

By Water News

By Brett Walton, Circle of Blue

In tweets and business tweaks, the world is relearning that clean hands are a first line of defense against disease and infection.

Amid the global coronavirus pandemic, handwashing and hygiene are swelling in urgency and support, even though the message being delivered is not new.

“It’s a known solution,” said Lindsay Denny, health adviser to Global Water 2020, a water, sanitation, and hygiene advocacy group. Denny was referring to hygienic practices being a safeguard against disease transmission. “We’ve known the solution for 150 years. It absolutely could be scaled and should be scaled up.”

Handwashing is a hard sell in calm times, when aspects of the health and medical industry like drug development attract more attention and funding than preventative measures. But today, the simple but potent combination of soap and water is having a moment that advocates are looking to take advantage of.

Though messages about handwashing and hygiene are breaking into the mainstream during the Covid-19 outbreak, the global nature of the pandemic is erecting extraordinary barriers to the movement of goods.

Read More at Circle of Blue

HotSpots H2O: Venezuela, Where Hospitals and Homes Lack Soap and Water, Announces First Coronavirus Cases

By Water News

For years, Venezuela’s healthcare system has veered toward collapse. Water, medicine, protective equipment, and other essentials have been in short supply. As the country reports its first coronavirus cases, experts fear the nation could be an ideal breeding ground for the disease.

“I am very concerned that in Venezuela there are no supplies, medicines, or even water in hospitals or homes,” Josefina Moreno, a university professor with a history of respiratory disease, said in an interview with Reuters. “The prevention measures that everyone is talking about are hard to comply with here.”

As of Sunday afternoon, a total of 10 coronavirus cases had been confirmed in Venezuela, according to Jorge Rodriguez, minister of communication and information.

After the first two cases were announced on Friday, schools across the country were closed indefinitely. Later that day, neighboring Colombia — which announced its first case last week and now has several dozen cases — halted all border crossings with Venezuela. The two countries share a 1,370-mile (2,200-kilometer) border.

Venezuela has also barred all flights with Europe and Colombia, and Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaidó canceled planned street demonstrations.

The protective measures, however, fail to address Venezuela’s major vulnerability in combating the virus: a woefully unprepared healthcare system.

Read More at Circle of Blue