Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings

  • 28/04/2020
  • WHO

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 COVID-19 in urban settings, to ensure a robust response and eventual recovery. It covers factors unique to cities and urban settings, considerations in urban preparedness, key areas of focus and preparing for future emergencies. Preparedness in cities and other urban settlements is critical for effective national, regional and global responses to COVID-19. These settings face unique dynamics that affect preparedness – they serve as travel hubs, have a higher risk of disease spread due to high population densities, and many have extensive public transport networks. Diverse sub populations have different socio cultural needs and contain vulnerable groups. Some live in crowded and substandard housing, lack access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene facilities, and those in informal settlements are also more often unemployed or dependent on informal economies. Cities also have centres for advanced medical care and are critical to broader health systems. Local authorities have governance and policy-making responsibilities and play an important role throughout the emergency management cycle – from preparedness and readiness to response to and eventual recovery from COVID-19.