This document is to support local authorities, leaders and policy-makers in cities and other urban settlements in identifying effective approaches and implementing recommended actions that enhance the prevention, preparedness and readiness for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) in urban settings, to ensure a robust response and eventual recovery.
To be effective, any public health measure must be implementable and designed in a way that will promote the willingness to comply. Urban authorities should among others:
• adopt a coordinated multisectoral, whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach;
• consider diverse social and cultural interactions with health issues, norms and perceptions;
• consider the extent of reliance on the informal sector or economy;
• ensure that health facilities are prepared for COVID-19 and identify and mobilize additional resources;
• ensure adequate housing, reduce risk of homelessness and anticipate outward migration and mobility;
• ensure that due consideration is given to maintaining good mental wellbeing.
In addition to the COVID-19 strategic preparedness and response plan (SPRP) and the COVID-19 strategy, there are four key areas that local authorities of cities and urban settlements should focus on in ensuring preparedness:
- Coordinated local plans in preparation for effective responses to health risks and impacts;
- Risk and crisis communication and community engagement that encourage compliance with measures;
- Contextually appropriate approaches to public health measures, especially physical distancing, hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette; and
- Access to health care services for COVID-19 and the continuation of essential services.