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Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when COVID-19 disease is suspected | WHO

22 Mar, 2020
This is the second edition (version 1.2) of this document, which was originally adapted from Clinical management of severe acute respiratory infection when MERS-CoV infection is suspected (WHO, 2019). 

It is intended for clinicians involved in the care of adult, pregnant, and paediatric patients with or at risk for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) when infection with the COVID-19 virus is suspected. Considerations for paediatric patients and pregnant women are highlighted throughout the text. It is not meant to replace clinical judgment or specialist consultation but rather to strengthen clinical management of these patients and to provide up-to-date guidance. Best practices for infection prevention and control (IPC), triage and optimized supportive care are included.

This document provides clinicians with updated interim guidance on timely, effective, and safe supportive management of patients with suspected and confirmed COVID-19. The definitions of mild and severe illness are in Table 2. Those with critical illness are defined as patients with acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) or sepsis with acute organ dysfunction. 

The recommendations in this document are derived from WHO publications. Where WHO guidance is not available, we refer to evidence-based guidelines. Members of a WHO global network of clinicians and clinicians who have treated patients with SARS, MERS, or severe influenza have reviewed the recommendations (see Acknowledgements). For queries, please email: with “COVID-19 clinical question” in the subject line.