ECDC - New guidelines for cleanliness procedures in non-healthcare facilities exposed to SARS-CoV-2 and guidelines for the food industry published by GIS

ECDC technical report

ECDC - European Center for Disease Prevention and Control has published a technical document in which it presents interim guidelines for cleaning procedures in facilities other than health care facilities (e.g. offices, public transport, educational facilities, offices) exposed to SARS-coronavirus CoV-2 and in which persons who were confirmed to have COVID-19 were allowed to reach hospitals.

These guidelines are based on current knowledge of SARS-CoV-2 and scientific knowledge and evidence from research on other coronaviruses.


The causative factor associated with the current outbreaks of coronavirus COVID-19, SARS-CoV-2 (genus: Betacoronavirus), belongs to the Coronaviridae family, which has a sheath and a single strand of RNA with helical symmetry and positive polarity. Coronaviruses are transmitted by droplet and contact transmission in most cases, but other modes of transmission are also possible.

Survival and conditions affecting SARS-CoV-2 viability in the environment are currently unknown. According to studies assessing the environmental stability of other coronaviruses - coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which causes severe, acute respiratory failure, can last up to several days in the environment. In contrast, Middle East coronavirus associated with respiratory syndrome (MERS-CoV) can survive for more than 48 hours in a room with a temperature (20 ° C) on various surfaces.

Procedures for maintaining cleanliness

Because of the virus's survival of the environment for several days, areas and areas potentially contaminated with SARS-CoV-2 should be cleaned before re-use, using antimicrobial cleaning agents that are known to be effective against coronaviruses. Although there is no specific evidence of their efficacy against SARS-CoV-2, cleaning with water and detergents for household use and the use of ordinary disinfectants should be sufficient for general preventive cleaning.

Several antimicrobials have been tested for various coronaviruses (Table 1). Some active ingredients, e.g. sodium hypochlorite (contained in household bleach) and ethanol are widely available in products not intended for healthcare and laboratory use.

Recently published studies comparing different bactericidal agents used in healthcare, it was found that those with 70% ethanol concentration had a stronger effect on two different coronaviruses (mouse hepatitis virus and infectious gastroenteritis virus) after one minute contact with hard surfaces compared to 0.06% sodium hypochlorite solution. Studies conducted on SARS-CoV have shown that sodium hypochlorite is effective at 0.05 and 0.1% after five minutes when mixed with a solution containing SARS-CoV. Similar results were obtained with household detergents containing sodium ether lauryl sulfate, alkyl polyglycosides and coconut oil diethanolamine.

Table 1. Antimicrobials effective against various coronaviruses: 229E human coronavirus (HCoV-229E), mouse hepatitis virus (MHV-2 and MHV-N), canine coronavirus (CCV), infectious gastroenteritis virus (TGEV) and severe respiratory coronavirus (SARS-CoV) 1


1 This list is based on antimicrobials that are listed in the reviewed, reviewed scientific literature presented in this document. This is not necessarily exhaustive, nor does it mean that other similar antimicrobials are less effective. ECDC does not endorse or recommend the use of any specific commercial productsh


Cleaning approaches and personal protection equipment

The use of 0.1% sodium hypochlorite (1:50 dilution for household bleach at an initial concentration of 5%) after cleansing with a neutral detergent is suggested for decontamination purposes, although no data are available on available efficacy against SARS-CoV-2. For surfaces that could be damaged by sodium hypochlorite, 70% ethanol concentration is needed for decontamination after cleaning with a neutral detergent. Cleaning should be carried out using appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE). Follow the procedures for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment; Further information on the procedures for putting on and taking off personal protective equipment can be found in the document 'Safe use of personal protective equipment in the treatment of infectious diseases of high consequence'.

Single-use personal protective equipment should be treated as potentially infectious material and disposed of in accordance with national regulations. It is recommended to use disposable cleaning equipment or special cleaning equipment; reusable personal protective equipment should be decontaminated using available products (e.g. 0.1% sodium hypochlorite solution or 70% ethanol). When using other chemical products, follow the manufacturer's instructions. When using cleaning chemicals, it is important that the object being cleaned is ventilated (e.g. by opening windows) to protect the health of the cleaning staff. For cleaning devices that may be contaminated with SARS-CoV-2, the following personal protective equipment is recommended:

- class 2 or 3 face masks (FFP) (FFP2 or FFP3)

- goggles or face shield

- disposable protective clothing, waterproof with long sleeves

- disposable gloves.

All areas that are frequently touched, such as accessible wall and window surfaces, toilet bowls and bathroom surfaces, should also be carefully cleaned. All textiles (e.g. bedding, curtains, etc.) should be washed at 90 ° C with the addition of laundry detergent. If the hot water cycle cannot be used due to the fabric, specific chemicals must be added when washing textiles (e.g. bleach or a product containing sodium hypochlorite, or a disinfectant for use in textiles).

Guidelines for the food industry published on the website of the State Sanitary Inspection

What actions can an entrepreneur and an employee of the food industry take?

Good hygiene practices, including proper hand washing, are aimed at preventing contamination of food with potentially pathogenic microorganisms, the source of which may be people in contact with food. This also applies to SARS COV-2. Therefore, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using standard practices to reduce exposure and transmission of diseases, which include:

  •     Good hand hygiene
  •     Cough / sneeze hygiene
  •     Food safety rules
  •     Restriction by employees of close contact with anyone who has respiratory symptoms (sneezing, coughing)
  •     Sick people showing the above symptoms cannot work in food processing plants.

Food industry employees must wash their hands of:

  •     Before starting work;
  •     Before coming into contact with food that is intended for direct consumption, cooked, baked, fried;
  •     After treatment or contact with raw, unprocessed foods;
  •     After handling waste / rubbish;
  •     After completing cleaning / disinfection procedures;
  •     After using the toilet;
  •     After coughing, sneezing, blowing your nose;
  •     After eating, drinking or smoking;
  •     After contact with money;

Food industry entrepreneurs:

  •     having regard to the applicable food safety regulations, it is advisable that both food producers as well as shops and wholesalers:
  •     They reminded employees of the rules of personal hygiene, hand washing, the obligation to inform about poor health, not only people who have direct contact with the plant and food, but also office workers, drivers, suppliers, cooperating farmers, service technicians, etc.
  •     Increased supervision over compliance with hygiene rules by employees and strictly enforced them
  •     They analyzed internal procedures for cleaning and disinfecting work surfaces, floors, machines, also in stores, where customers are a potential source of contamination (shopping baskets, cash registers, tapes at checkouts, handrails, handles) and if required - increase the frequency of performed procedures
  •     They reviewed good hygiene practices and HACCP procedures to eliminate possible gaps or possible contamination paths;
  •     They tried to limit, as far as possible, the exposure in unpackaged food stores, intended for direct consumption, especially bread, cakes, and where unpackaged food is packed by the consumer - pay attention to proper hygiene (not coughing / sneezing towards other people and towards the goods, returning remarks by the staff, displaying warning signs);
  •     They reduced business travel to a minimum, as well as observed the rules of access to the production plant by external persons;
  •     In order to prevent staff shortages, they made employees aware that both they and their families should follow hygiene rules and apply the restrictions currently recommended by the authorities. Another action is to enforce the zoning, special care for the hygiene of common places, such as changing rooms, changing rooms, bathrooms, canteens;
  •     Increased toilet cleaning and cleaning procedures;
  •     Develop an internal crisis management plan.

What actions should an informed customer-consumer take?

In the shop:

People who are in stores, supermarkets, shopping centers should always remember that they are jointly responsible for their own health and the health of others. If possible, avoid being in crowded places, keep spaces in queues.

That is why you should remember about hand hygiene as well as hygiene of sneezing and coughing, in particular when packing loose, unpackaged food, i.e. bread, confectionery, nuts.

Hands in the store have contact with work surfaces, money. For packaging, use available plastic gloves and bags. Unhygienic behavior is changing and touching products that are intended for consumption without washing and heat treatment (e.g. bread, rolls, confectionery).

You should also pay attention to proper respiratory hygiene - not coughing / sneezing towards other people or goods.

At home:

Good hygiene of washing and preparation of food should be maintained. This is a priority not only for coronavirus, but above all for typical microbial contaminants that lead to food poisoning. Wash hands, kitchen tools, worktops, boards. Always remember to separate raw and ready-to-eat products to avoid cross contamination in kitchens.

WHO recommends following the 5 Steps principles for Safe Food


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