Objectives: This paper reports and discusses the results of a rapid review of international early policy responses for the protection of social care systems after the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that SARS-CoV-2 had evolved into a pandemic. Literature was collected in March 2020.
Method: Rapid online review of government responses to the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic using official government statements and press reports from 13 countries.
Findings: The analysis of early responses in and about social care to the pandemic suggested an initial focus on avoiding the outbreak of the virus in care homes, with first steps being to limit visitors in these contexts and considering ways to isolate residents with symptoms or a confirmed infection. Responses to protect people receiving social care in their homes and schemes to support informal or family carers were less prominent.
Limitations: Only publications in the public domain and in local languages of the 13 countries were considered for this analysis. It is possible that further strategies and responses were not made available to the public and are therefore not included, which limits this article’s scope for analysis.
Implications: The findings of this article can support reflection on the trajectory of policy responses to the threats that SARS-CoV-2 poses to social care. They can thereby potentially inform planning and policy responses for enhanced pandemic preparedness and stronger social care systems in the future.