Addressing Associated Risks of COVID-19 Infections Across Water and Wastewater Service Chain in Asia

In Environmental Resilience and Transformation in times of COVID-19 - 1st Edition - Climate Change Effects on Environmental Functionality
Chapter: 10
Book Chapter

Safely managed water supply and wastewater services have been playing key roles in maintaining good water environmental quality, stopping the spread of disease and protecting public health during infectious outbreaks, including of ongoing coronavirus outbreak 2019 (COVID-19) caused by SARS-CoV-2. Recently, there are a growing number of scientific research findings, and reports around the world, which revealed that SARS-CoV-2 is detected in sewage treatment plants, and it is spreading through human faeces. In order to address this emerging challenge and minimize associated risks across water and wastewater service chain, regular virus surveillance in wastewater (also known as wastewater-based epidemiology) is considered a useful tool to understand the circulation and prevalence of viruses in a community or a city. Consequently, it may help to reveal the true scale of the coronavirus outbreak, the trends of the pandemic and provide early warnings of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the infected community. If SARS-CoV-2 can be effectively monitored in a community at an early stage through wastewater-based epidemiology, together with results from clinical diagnostic testing, effective interventions can be proposed and taken as early as possible to restrict the movements of infected population, as well as to minimise the pathogen spread and threat to public health.