2019 Novel Coronavirus Outbreak Update - For Canada customers

Dear Valued Customer

This memo is an update to a prior memo released on January 30, 2020 regarding the COVID-19 outbreak that has since become a global pandemic. Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) is an enveloped virus, which causes COVID-19, and is part of the family of viruses that includes other recent coronavirus outbreaks such as SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, 2003) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, 2012-2014).1 As of March 30, 2020, SARs-CoV-2 has over 755,000 confirmed cases and over 36,000 deaths.2
Current WHO guidelines for infection prevention and control are adapted from what is known about MERS and SARS. Specifically,

  • Ensuring triage, early recognition and source control4
  • Application of Standard precautions for all patients4
  • Implementation of empiric additional precautions (droplet and contact and whenever applicable airborne precautions) for suspected cases4
  • Administrative controls4
  • Environmental and engineering controls4

As new information becomes available, WHO will update these guidelines.

Standard precaution for all patients in infection prevention and control includes environmental disinfection, hand hygiene, and other precautions such as4:

  • Respiratory hygiene
  • The use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • Injection safety practices
  • Safe waste management
  • Proper lines
  • Sterilization of patient-care equipment

Environmental Disinfection
Standard precaution regarding environmental disinfection for SARS-CoV-2 requires the use of a hospital grade surface disinfectant.3 The following Metrex products are hard surface disinfectant drugs approved by Health Canada, including CaviWipes Bleach, CaviCide Bleach, CaviWipes, CaviCide, CaviWipes1, CaviCide1, which are effective against human coronavirus (not associated with SARS) when used as directed. All coronavirus strains are enveloped viral particles that belong to the same virus family of Coronaviridae. According to the Spaulding hierarchy, enveloped viruses are more susceptible to chemical disinfectant formulations than other common pathogens5. Many of Metrex’s products are on the US EPA’s list N6. Currently, CaviWipes is on Health Canada’s list of hard-surface disinfectants for use against SARS-CoV- 27. We are working to add other appropriate disinfectants to Health Canada’s list.

Hand Hygiene
WHO recommends using alcohol-based hand rub before and after all patient contact, contact with potentially infectious material, and before putting on and upon removal of personal protective equipment (PPE). Hand hygiene in healthcare settings can also be performed by washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If hands are visibly soiled, use soap and water before returning to alcohol-based hand rub.4


  1. CDC. 2019 Novel Coronavirus, Wuhan, China. Accessed 1.27.2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html
  2. The Washington Post. Coronavirus live update: Accessed 3.30.2020. https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/coronavirus-china-live- updates/2020/01/29/d49b9194-423b-11ea-b503-2b077c436617_story.html
  3. CDC. Interim Guidance for Healthcare Professionals. Accessed 1.29.2020. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection- control.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019- ncov%2Finfection-control.html
  4. WHO. Infection prevention and control during health care when novel coronavirus (nCoV) infection is suspected. Accessed 3.30.2020. https://www.who.int/publications-detail/infection-prevention-and-control-during-health-care-when-novel-coronavirus-(ncov)-infection-is-suspected-20200125
  5. Sattar, S. “Hierarchy of Susceptibility of Viruses to Environmental Surface Disinfectants: A Predictor of Activity Against new and Emerging Viral Pathogens”. Journal of AOAC International. 2007. Vol 90.6.
  6. US EPA. List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2. Accessed.24.2020 https://www.epa.gov/pesticide-registration/list-n-disinfectants-use-against-sars-cov-2
  7. Health Canada. List of hard-surface disinfectants for use against coronavirus (COVID-19). Accessed 3.30.20 https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/drugs-health-products/disinfectants/covid-19/list.html