World Health Organization: Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings


The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed the vulnerabilities of cities and urban settings to outbreaks and other health emergencies.  The World Health Organization, on behalf of WHE’s Health Security Preparedness (HSP) and the Health Security Partnership of SPH, has shared interim guidance for local authorities titled “Strengthening Preparedness for COVID-19 in Cities and Urban Settings.”

The document aims 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, so as 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 the need to also prepare for future emergencies.

In addition, to assist local authorities in their preparedness efforts, the WHO has developed a Simulation Exercise package for urban settings, with input from WHO AFRO and the UN Habitat. The purpose is to facilitate discussions around critical issues in urban environments addressing different phases of the pandemic.