CDC: Implementing the ‘Shielding Approach’ to Prevent COVID-19 in Humanitarian Settings

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Household-level shielding seems to be the most feasible and dignified as it allows for the least disruption to family structure and lifestyle, critical components to maintaining compliance. However, it is most susceptible to the introduction of a virus due to necessary movement or interaction outside the green zone, less oversight, and often large household sizes. It may be less feasible in settings where family shelters are small and do not have multiple compartments. In humanitarian settings, small village, sector/block, or camp-level shielding may allow for greater adherence to proposed protocol, but at the expense of longer-term social impacts triggered by separation from friends and family, feelings of isolation, and stigmatization. Most importantly, accidental introduction of the virus into a green zone may result in rapid transmission and increased morbidity and mortality as observed in assisted care facilities in the US.

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The shielding approach is intended to alleviate stress on the healthcare system and circumvent the negative economic consequences of long-term containment measures and lockdowns by protecting the most vulnerable.Implementation of this approach will involve careful planning, additional resources, strict adherence and strong multi-sector coordination, requiring agencies to consider the potential repercussion among populations that have collectively experienced physical and psychological trauma which makes them more vulnerable to adverse psychosocial consequences. In addition, thoughtful consideration of the potential benefit versus the social and financial cost of implementation will be needed in humanitarian settings.

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www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/downloads/global-covid-19/Interim-Operational-Considerations-Implementing-Shielding-in-Humanitarian-Settings.pdf

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