Global Handwashing Day 2020

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This year’s Global Handwashing Day is more important now than ever!

Global Handwashing Day is an international awareness day dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of hand hygiene. It is proven as an important reminder, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, that one of the most effective ways to stop the spread of harmful bacteria and viruses is also one of the simplest — handwashing.

Hand hygiene impacts your health and COVID-19

Handwashing with soap can help reduce the transmission of a range of diseases:

  • Handwashing can reduce diarrheal diseases by 30% to 48%.
  • Handwashing can reduce acute respiratory infections by 20%.
  • Handwashing plays an important role in reducing the transmission of outbreak-related pathogens such as cholera, Ebola, shigellosis, SARS and hepatitis E.
  • Hand hygiene is protective against healthcare-associated infections and reduces the spread of antimicrobial resistance.
  • Hand hygiene may contribute to the reduction of Neglected Tropical Diseases.
Handwashing is also key in the fight against COVID-19. Handwashing with soap destroys the outer membrane of the virus and thereby inactivates it. One study found that regular handwashing with soap can reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 infection by 36% [1].

What can I do if I don’t have access to handwashing facilities?

UK Government guidelines recommend that you should wash your hands with soap for 20 seconds, in order to prevent and slow the spread of bacteria and viruses. However, for circumstances where you cannot wash your hands, you should use hand sanitiser.


[1] The global handwashing partnership. 2020. Global Handwashing Day. [Online]. [19 October 2020]. Available from:

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