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Communique #46

10 June, 2021


Taskforce publishes guidance to help healthcare workers and organisations make decisions about PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic

Following today’s publication of the Infection Control Expert Group (ICEG)’s Guidance on the use of personal protective equipment (PPE) for health care workers in the context of COVID-19, the Taskforce has now published its full set of consensus guidance on the use of P2/N95 respirators, surgical masks and eye protection on the online guideline platform MAGICapp.

This set of guidance, including recommendations, background to deliberations, eye protection practice principles, remarks and case scenarios was developed by the joint Taskforce/ICEG Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) Panel and approved by all 32 Taskforce members and the ICEG.

The Taskforce-approved recommendations and supporting material were provided to the ICEG and used to inform development of the ICEG guidance published today.

IPC Panel Co-Chair Dr Phillipa Hore said it was an important step towards ensuring healthcare workers are adequately protected during the pandemic.

‘We understand the ongoing potential for COVID-19 transmission within healthcare settings and we’re pleased that this published guidance will help healthcare workers and organisations make informed decisions about the use of PPE.

‘We recognise the need for guidance that is based on the best available research evidence. The Taskforce has undertaken a broad, rigorous, systematic review of evidence and continues to update it as new research becomes available. This guidance will help HCWs to ensure they can safely and confidently care for their patients, clients and residents.’

The 17-member IPC Panel draws on some of Australia’s foremost experts in evidence-based clinical practice, infection prevention and control, occupation and environmental health, occupational hygiene and clinical engineering.

Taskforce Executive Director A/Prof Julian Elliott praised the Panel for their commitment to developing this consensus guidance.

‘This has been a complex and challenging area with many different perspectives involved. I thank the Panel for their generosity in providing countless hours of their time, expertise and insights.

‘With little reliable, direct epidemiological evidence to underpin recommendations, the Panel was required to develop these consensus recommendations based on their combined experience and expertise.

‘I particularly thank Panel Co-chairs A/Prof John Ferguson and Dr Phillipa Hore for their outstanding leadership in navigating this collaborative process. We also acknowledge the broader contribution of the Taskforce Guidelines Leadership Group and Steering Committee in achieving consensus across their member organisations.’

The Taskforce also recognises the contribution of the healthcare workers who volunteered to participate in our consultation to better understand implications for implementation of the guidance.

The Taskforce guidance has been developed using a ‘living evidence’ approach which allows guidance to be regularly updated as new evidence becomes available.

The Taskforce continues to conduct daily searches for new evidence to inform its recommendations.

View the full set of Taskforce PPE guidance at the Australian guidelines for SARS-CoV-2 infection prevention and control of COVID-19 in healthcare workers (Version 1.0).


Updates to the Living Treatment Guideline

Version 40.1 includes the identification of several new studies on disease-modifying treatments:

These studies are currently under review and recommendations will be included in future versions of the guidelines.



COVID-19 research pipeline

  • 64,537 studies published or registered in Cochrane COVID-19 Study Register, 1,471 added this week
  • 3,051 randomised controlled trials registered (data from Covid-nma site), 35 added this week
  • 4,289 systematic reviews registered in PROSPERO, 65 added this week
  • 326 randomised controlled trials published (data from Covid-nma site), 20 added this week



11 clinical flowcharts have been developed by the Taskforce to cover:

  • Assessment for suspected COVID-19
  • Management of adults with mild COVID-19
  • Management of adults with moderate to severe COVID-19
  • Management of adults with severe to critical COVID-19
  • Respiratory support for adults with severe to critical COVID-19
  • Management of people with COVID-19 who are older and living with frailty and/or cognitive impairment
  • Management of people with COVID-19 who are receiving palliative care
  • Care of people with Post-acute COVID-19
  • Preparedness for CPR during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • CPR for adults with COVID-19 in healthcare settings
  • Basic life support for adults in the community during the pandemic


We are currently reviewing evidence to develop recommendations and flowcharts to guide practice in areas including:

  • Aspirin NEW
  • Aerosol generating procedures and behaviours
  • Budesonide
  • Corticosteroids
  • Human umbilical cord mesenchymal stem cells
  • Hydroxychloroquine plus azithromycin
  • Ivermectin
  • Immunoglobulin plus methylprednisolone
  • Post-exposure hydroxychloroquine prophylaxis
  • Proxalutimide
  • Sofosbuvir-lepidasvir
  • Sotrovimab
  • Care of people with Post-acute COVID-19



Cochrane Engaging Evidence 2021
Save the date for Cochrane’s upcoming Engaging Evidence 2021 (EE21) online event. If you’re based in Australia or New Zealand and work in evidence synthesis or implementation, you’re encouraged to submit papers, posters and/or workshops to present over the course of this three-day event. EE21 offers a chance to exchange knowledge and ideas, and hear what others are up to in the worlds of evidence and research synthesis. For more information and to subscribe to be notified when registration and abstract submissions open in early July, click here.

GIN-ANZ Webinar tomorrow
The Guidelines International Network (GIN) ANZ are hosting an upcoming webinar: The Living guidelines approach—is it achievable and sustainable? It will explore aspects of the ‘living guidelines’ approach using recent projects in stroke and diabetes management.
Date: Friday, 11 June 2021
Time: 11:00 AM AEST
Speakers: Kelvin Hill, National Manager, Clinical Services, Stroke Foundation and Heath White, Senior Evidence Officer and Evidence Lead, Cochrane Australia

Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) Information Session
The ARDC are running an online information session on the Design Phase of Health Studies Australian National Data Asset (HeSANDA). This phase will use a co-creation approach to establish consensus on the design of data sharing standards to support the creation of a national health data asset.
Date: Tuesday, 22 June 2021
Time: 2–3pm AEST
For more information and to register, click here.