This brief provides governments with essential information to support their efforts to manage an increase in infectious medical waste due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the COVID-19 outbreak in Hubei Province, People’s Republic of China (PRC), infectious medical waste increased by 600% from 40 tons per day to 240 tons per day. This quickly overwhelmed existing medical transport and disposal infrastructure around hospitals. Other countries will face similar challenges. It is critical that additional waste management systems are put in place to help reduce the further spread of COVID-19 and the emergence of other diseases.
It outlines the key considerations for governments to understand their country’s capacity to manage an anticipated surge in infectious medical waste. It also makes practical recommendations to improve the disposal of household and hospital waste—as well as municipal solid waste—with the aim of reducing the further spread of COVID-19 and other diseases. Links to important technical resources and guidance materials are also provided.