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Health and Safety Directorate

COVID-19: Advice for Staff Spouses/Domestic Partners, Dependents & Retirees

General Preventive Measures | What To Do If You Are Sick | When to Stay at Home

HSD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Note: World Bank Group staff are encouraged to review internal resources for additional information specific to Bank staff:

IMF staff are encouraged to review internal resources for additional information specific to IMF staff:

General Preventive Measures

Follow local and national health authority guidance on movement restrictions, infection control measures, and procedures for managing illness. Supplementary to national guidance, HSD recommends the following:.

  • Avoid contact with others who are ill with fever or cough, and practice social distancing (maintaining at least 2 meters/6 feet distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing).
  • Proper handwashing prevents the spread of illness. Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for 20 seconds, especially when returning home, before eating, and before touching your mouth or eyes. If no soap is available use an alcohol-based hand rub.
  • When coughing and sneezing cover mouth and nose with flexed elbow or tissue – throw tissue away immediately and wash hands with soap.
  • Avoid crowded areas or large gatherings.

Those who are over 65 and those with chronic medical conditions such as heart, lung, or kidney disease, diabetes, or conditions that suppress the immune system should take the following additional actions:

  • Avoid all non-essential travel.
  • Consider flexible work arrangements​.
  • Stock up on supplies such as medications and household groceries.
  • If there is an outbreak in your community, stay at home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.

The Use of Face Masks in the Community by Healthy Persons

Neither the WHO nor the U.S. CDC recommends wearing a mask for protection in a community setting, as there is no strong evidence that these prevent infection when used by healthy people in public settings. Attitudes towards wearing masks differ across the globe. In some countries the public health authorities are recommending and even enforcing the use of surgical masks when taking public transportation or staying in crowded places. Staff in these countries should follow these local recommendations.

Note: The use of simple surgical masks is known to be effective when used by sick persons to prevent the infection of others, and for the protection of medical personnel or other high-risk occupations who may have close contact with sick persons. In the latter case, higher specification N95 masks should be used, needing specific training for effective use.

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What To Do If You Are Sick

For staff exhibiting COVID-19-like symptoms (fever, cough, difficulty breathing):

  • Please contact your primary care physician to get guidance on what to do and follow local public health authority guidance.
  • If you need to go out in public (e.g. to a medical appointment) wear a surgical face mask to prevent infection of others.

If you do not have a primary care physician – refer to the two posted FAQs:

  • I live in a country office and do not have a care provider, where can I get help if I suspect I may be sick with COVID-19? - [FAQ]
  • I live and work in the Washington, DC, area and don't have a healthcare provider. I have symptoms of COVID-19, where can I get help? - [FAQ​]

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When to Stay at Home & Avoid Contact with Others

All staff who have traveled from countries​ reporting widespread sustained (ongoing) transmission - including the United States - should not return to the workplace until 14 days after their exit from those countries. Staff must stay at home during this period and avoid contact with others (practice social distancing). They should monitor their health during this period. This advice applies to all travelers from these countries.

Monitoring of health should include a daily temperature check for fever (defined as 38.0 C / 100.4 F) and monitoring for symptoms including cough, difficulty breathing, or fatigue.

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Additional Information:

HSD is monitoring this evolving situation and will update this page as needed.

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