Narrative review of non-pharmaceutical behavioural measures for the prevention of COVID-19 (SARS-CoV-2) based on the Health-EDRM framework

Emily Ying Yang Chan, Tayyab Salim Shahzada, Tiffany Sze Tung Sham, Caroline Dubois, Zhe Huang, Sida Liu, Janice Ying En Ho, Kevin K.C. Hung, Kin On Kwok, Rajib Shaw

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Non-pharmaceutical measures to facilitate a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a disease caused by novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, are urgently needed. Using the World Health Organization (WHO) health emergency and disaster risk management (health-EDRM) framework, behavioural measures for droplet-borne communicable diseases and their enabling and limiting factors at various implementation levels were evaluated. Sources of data: Keyword search was conducted in PubMed, Google Scholar, Embase, Medline, Science Direct, WHO and CDC online publication databases. Using the Oxford Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine review criteria, 10 bottom-up, non-pharmaceutical prevention measures from 104 English-language articles, which published between January 2000 and May 2020, were identified and examined. Areas of agreement: Evidence-guided behavioural measures against transmission of COVID-19 in global at-risk communities were identified, including regular handwashing, wearing face masks and avoiding crowds and gatherings. Areas of concern: Strong evidence-based systematic behavioural studies for COVID-19 prevention are lacking. Growing points: Very limited research publications are available for non-pharmaceutical measures to facilitate pandemic response. Areas timely for research: Research with strong implementation feasibility that targets resource-poor settings with low baseline health-EDRM capacity is urgently needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-87
Number of pages42
JournalBritish Medical Bulletin
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • behavioural measures
  • biological hazards
  • coronavirus
  • droplet-borne
  • health-EDRM
  • non-pharmaceutical
  • pandemic
  • primary prevention

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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