Covid-19 in Refugee Shelters: The German Public Health Service Needs Strengthening Now [Covid-19 in Flüchtlingsunterkünften: ÖGD jetzt weiter stärken]
The Covid-19 pandemic poses a major challenge for the management of collective accommodation centres for refugees. The often-overcrowded facilities hinder satisfactory implementation of social distancing and hygiene practices. Adequate information policies as well as a rapid, efficient management of suspected and confirmed Covid-19 cases are essential. However, scientific evidence on this is largely lacking. Besides partially implemented approaches, such as isolation areas or cluster quarantine, plans to evacuate overcrowded facilities should also be considered. The German Public Health Service (ÖGD) plays a vital role in the current Covid-19 pandemic. In order to fulfil their routine tasks of infection control and support health services management for refugee accommodation centres, the ÖGD urgently needs to be strengthened in terms of personnel and material. Additionally, means for a rapid exchange of best practice examples of Covid-19 interventions across federal states as well as collaborative structures and capacity within the ÖGD for accompanying operational research are needed. Refugees, their housing situation and their access to health care need to be included in pandemic plans. Only an integrative health care system can achieve regional and international targets for the control of Covid-19 and other infectious diseases. © Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart New York.
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