On December 2019, pneumonia cases of unknown origin were officially reported in China, named COVID-19 . The disease has rapidly spread around many other regions within China then to the entire global. Globally, as of 1:41 pm CEST, 13 September 2020, there have been 28,637,952 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 917,417 deaths, reported to WHO from 216 countries, areas or territories with cases . In Saudi Arabia, from Mar 2 to 1:41 pm CEST, 13 September 2020, there have been 325,050 confirmed cases of COVID-19 with 4,240 deaths .
The disease mainly transmitted through respiratory droplets , as MERS, SARS and severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) [5–7]. Covid-19 has more clinical symptoms of dyspnoea and has radiological abnormalities on chest computed tomography showing multiple lesions located in the posterior or peripheral lung [8–10]. Symptoms as headaches and diarrhoea are rare with COVID-19 . The COVID-2019 progresses rapidly and early intervention and treatment are critically crucial for patients’ prognosis . Patients infected with COVID-19 usually die of acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) and multiple organ failure caused by cytokine storm [9, 10].
With the unusual and profligate increasing number of global reported cases, an international concern is raised around the world [2, 3]. Therefore, HWs globally need to be ensuring that they are aware of the disease and to be vigilant and prepared to prevent additional spread of this infection. They must put in place enhanced public health surveillance for identifying suspected cases using the WHO-recommended case definition and investigation protocols in order to protect both global health and the wellbeing of the local community .
In Saudi Arabia, COVID-19 infection is of great concern at governmental and public levels because the cumulative number of infected individuals and deaths despite extensive persistent effort considered limiting the disease spread [12, 13]. This includes a wide range of interventions related to prevention and control procedures, distinct measures for people working in healthcare facilities, risk communications and community engagement, and national, ministerial and international coordination for the investigation and management of cases in the country and research studies [12–16].
During previous MERS-CoV spread infection, Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health has reported a total of 1297 confirmed infected cases with MERS-CoV from June 2012 to February, 2016, accounting for about 79% of the global cases; of these, 554 cases died (43%) accounting for 94% of total global deaths [17, 18]. As reported possible source of infection, since January 2015, 32% of cases acquired the infection in a health care setting, while 12% of infected cases were HWs [17, 18]. Based on the available data and WHO’s risk assessment and Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health Command and Control Centre for COVID-19, human-to-human transmission within communities has been documented and careful monitoring of the current situation is crucial, particularly in the absence of any prophylactic vaccines or curative treatment globally [17, 18]. Until now, the global protective measures include curfew and quarantines either at homes or healthcare facilities [19, 20]. HWs perform a critical role not only in the medical management of patients but also in confirming acceptable infection control and prevention measures are implemented in health care facilities. Health care providers in hospitals are at risk of infection through occupational exposure to suspected cases during the pandemic. It is important therefore that they have adequate and correct knowledge, attitudes and practices towards any pandemic. The aim of this study is to evaluate HWs awareness and knowledge of COVID-19 infection control precautions and waste management in Saudi Arabia hospitals.