Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services, Statement on the Use of Gloves in Community Settings in the Context of COVID-19
The Ministry of Health, Agriculture, Sports and Human Services noted several instances where individuals in the general population are using disposable (single use) and reusable gloves while out in public, as a measure of personal protection against COVID-19.
Based on guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Ministry of Health advises the public that the inappropriate use of gloves by persons in the public may give the user a false sense of security; and can easily lead to the transmission of germs including the virus that causes COVID-19. This includes the use of gloves while shopping/browsing for food and other items, driving and holding door handles. Prolonged use of gloves and unintentional touching of the face, eyes or mobile phone will lead to contamination; and possible transmission of the virus and other germs that may become trapped on the gloves.
Businesses which require their employees and customers to use single use, disposable gloves as part of their operations, should provide clear instructions for the use, removal and disposal of these gloves. Such instructions should be readily available and easily understood.
When a person has reason to go into the community or public, the use of disposable or reusable gloves is not recommended or promoted. While out in public, the best defence against contracting COVID-19 is to:
- Continually practice proper hand hygiene - wash hands thoroughly for at least 20 seconds with soap and running water or use hand sanitizer that contains 60% or more alcohol.
- Maintain appropriate social distancing from others (at least 2 metres/6 feet),
- Avoid gatherings/crowded spaces and
- Observe measures for the use of face masks/face coverings, where applicable
- Stay at home if you are sick.
The need for the use of gloves by various categories of healthcare workers and persons caring for ill relatives at home who have COVID-19 is well defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and other scientific guidance.
Single use medical gloves (latex/nitrile) are worn by healthcare workers or home care providers to help:
- To reduce the risk of contamination of health-care workers hands with blood and other body fluids and,
- To reduce the risk of germ dissemination to the environment, and of transmission from the health-care worker to the patient and vice versa, as well as from one patient to another.
Gloves are to be safely disposed after use. Gloves used while handling cases of COVID-19 at home should be placed in a bag and tied before disposal into the waste bin.