COVID-19, the latest global pandemic, is a coronavirus disease that causes respiratory illness that can spread quickly from human to human. The latest outbreak of COVID-19 caused about 7,000 confirmed cases in China in the first month (January 2020, Situation report), following with another 80,000 confirmed worldwide in the second month (February 2020, Situation report).
Coronaviruses are a wide family of viruses that cause disease, often in animals. However, 7 forms of coronaviruses can cause disease in humans, and 3 of these can cause significant outbreaks of deadly pneumonia:
According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), SARS and MERS took years to spread and killed more than 800 people. Yet COVID-19 took just 3 months to spread around the world, causing about 115,000 deaths worldwide. Such high numbers that have occurred in a short time can cause the local medical resource to crash.
According to WHO guidelines, the virus can spread directly when a case of COVID-19 coughs or exhales droplets that touch the nose, mouth or eyes of another person. Keep your hands clean and cover your mouth and nose while coughing or sneezing is vital for public health. Yet it’s another matter for healthcare services.
In order to prevent mass infection in healthcare facilities, infected patients need to remain in a controlled environment, namely negative pressure isolation room. Frontline operators need to wear a complete range of isolation equipment, like face shield, N95 respirator, coverall, gloves, boot covers, etc. according to WHO Disease Commodity Packages (DCPs) of COVID-19, or CDC Coronavirus Disease Infection Control.
Is it enough if wear all the equipment suggested? Typically, environmental variables are under-controlled in a healthcare facility. Normally, biological threats come from a few directions, usually from the lower front, since the patient can sit or lie down on the bed. Protective equipment used in the medical industry, such as isolation gown, is intended to avoid front contamination only. But the region above or below the chest is exposed and can cause possible hazards. Once it comes to coronavirus disease, such as COVID-19, protection for the human body is not enough.
In order to get an appropriate protection, coverall is a safer choice when dealing with disease prevention, such as COVID-19. Coverall has a one-piece hood, gloves, body cover and pants that eliminates all gaps in the collar, chest, legs and back section. These will have 360 degrees of protection for healthcare personnel.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has recently warned that COVID-19 is a “very high” risk pandemic to be taken seriously. In order to prevent misuse of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) during this battle, it is time to take a closer look at EN 14126, which provides specifications and test methods for evaluating the protection of the fabric against infective agents.
According to EN 14126, special requirements are defined for protective clothing against infectious agents to protect against bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms. It contains 5 different tests, especially 3 of them are key indexes to protect against COVID-19, which are ISO 16603, ISO 16604, and ISO/DIS 22611 which determine penetration by blood, body fluids, blood-borne pathogens and biologically contaminated liquid aerosol.
Figure 2. Test methods required under EN 14126
In the global case of COVID-19, certified protective clothing EN 14126 can effectively prevent the transmission of disease along with other PPE if appropriate selection is made.
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