Table 1.

Global comparison of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers in secondary care settings when providing care for patients with suspected/confirmed COVID-19

World Health Organization24China69ECDC (Italy, Spain, France, Germany)70CDC (USA)71Australia72PHE (UK)7
Respiratory protectionMedical facemask*N95/FFP2 respirator maskFFP2/FFP3 respirator maskN95 respirator maskN95 respirator maskFluid-repellent surgical mask*
Body protectionLong-sleeved gownLong-sleeved medical protective uniform Shoe cover HatLong-sleeved water-resistant gownGownLong-sleeved gownPlastic apron
Bare below the elbows
Eye protection (face shield or goggles)YesYesYesYesYesDependent on clinical setting, proximity to patient and/or risk assessment§
Hand protection (gloves)YesYesYesYesYesYes
  • *Respirator masks are only recommended if performing selected aerosol-generating procedures (AGPs) or also in the UK if working in higher risk acute care areas (defined by PHE as: ‘ICU/HDUs; ED resuscitation areas; wards with non-invasive ventilation; operating theatres; endoscopy units for upper respiratory, ENT or upper GI endoscopy; and other clinical areas where AGPs are regularly performed’).

  • In the absence of FFP2/3 respirator masks, healthcare workers should use masks with the highest available filter level. Respirator masks can be used for up to 4 hours for multiple patients without removing them, unless the respirator is damaged, soiled or contaminated, for example a symptomatic suspected case coughing on them.

  • Disposable fluid-resistant gowns or coveralls to be only worn if performing selected AGPs or working in higher-risk acute care areas or in operating theatre/labour ward area with possible or confirmed case.

  • §Eye/face protection should be worn if working in a higher risk acute care area/labour ward/operating theatre with possible or confirmed case or when performing selected AGPs or if in close proximity (ie <2 metres) to a possible or confirmed case in an acute assessment/inpatient/maternity/radiology area. In other instances, eye/face protection should be worn if following an individual risk assessment there is thought to be an anticipated/likely risk of contamination to the eyes from splashes, droplets of blood or body fluids.

  • CDC = Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; ECDC = European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control; FFP = filtering face piece; PHE = Public Health England