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Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Planning and Response

World Health Organization



Policy Brief

Gender equality covid-19 response plan community engagement

Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Planning and Response

Operational Planning Guidelines to Support Country Planning and Response

Prepared by the World Health Organization (WHO), this document is a practical guide for United Nations country teams and partners in developing operational plans to respond to COVID-19 at country level—in support of national governments and in line with WHO’s Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. It enumerates steps and actions that should be prioritised and included in Country Preparedness and Response Plans.


  • National public health emergency management mechanisms should be activated with engagement of relevant ministries such as health, education, travel and tourism, public works, environment, social protection, and agriculture, to provide coordinated management of COVID-19 preparedness and response. NAPHS and PIPPs, if available, should also be adapted to address COVID-19.
  • Preparedness and response activities should be conducted in a participatory, community-based way that are informed and continually optimized according to community feedback to detect and respond to concerns, rumours and misinformation.
  • In countries with high-risk of imported cases or local transmission, surveillance objectives will focus on rapid detection of imported cases, comprehensive and rapid contact tracing, and case identification.
  • Efforts and resources at points of entry (POEs) should focus on supporting surveillance and risk communication activities.
  • Countries should prepare laboratory capacity to manage large-scale testing for COVID-19 — either domestically, or through arrangements with international reference laboratories.
  • Infection prevention and control (IPC) practices in communities and health facilities should be reviewed and enhanced to prepare for treatment of patients with COVID‑19, and prevent transmission to staff, all patients/visitors and in the community.
  • Healthcare facilities should prepare for large increases in the number of suspected cases of COVID‑19.
  • Logistical arrangements to support incident management and operations should be reviewed.



  • COVID‑19 preparedness and response planning
    • Purpose of the planning guidelines
    • Next steps
    • Pillar 1: Country-level coordination, planning, and monitoring
    • Pillar 2: Risk communication and community engagement
    • Pillar 3: Surveillance, rapid response teams, and case investigation
    • Pillar 4: Points of entry
    • Pillar 5: National laboratories
    • Pillar 6: Infection prevention and control
    • Pillar 7: Case management
    • Pillar 8: Operational support and logistics
    • Annex 1: Key Performance Indicators
    • Annex 2: Estimated resource requirement to prepare for and respond to cluster of local transmission of up to 100 cases


This document was originally published on the WHO website.


Related documents:

Strategic preparedness and response plan for the new coronavirus

COVID-19 Strategy Update

Updated Country Preparedness and Response Status for COVID-19 as of 13 April 2020



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