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Covid-19: Government Issues New Standard Operating Procedures for Offices to Contain Spread of Coronavirus | India News


NEW DELHI: The Union Ministry of Health has issued new ‘SOPs to contain the spread of Covid-19 in offices’ and, according to these, if one or two cases are notified, the disinfection procedure will be limited to occupied areas and visited by the patient in the last 48 hours.
Work can be resumed after disinfection has been completed according to established protocols, standard operating procedures (SOPs) indicated, which were issued on Saturday.
If a greater number of cases are reported in the workplace, the entire block or building should be disinfected before resuming work, the ministry said.
Officers and staff residing in containment zones should report this to their supervising officer and not attend the office until the containment zone is identified. Such staff should be allowed to work from home, the new standard operating procedures indicated.
Offices in containment zones will remain closed, except for medical and essential services, and only those outside will be allowed to open, according to the document.
The SOPs stated that only asymptomatic staff or visitors will be allowed entry, individuals must maintain a minimum distance of six feet in common places as much as possible and wear face covers or masks at all times.
“They should be used correctly to cover the nose and mouth. You should avoid touching the front of the mask or face covering,” the ministry said.
He also underscored the practice of frequently washing hands with soap for at least 40 to 60 seconds, even when hands are not visibly dirty, and using alcohol-based hand sanitizer for at least 20 seconds whenever possible.
Meetings, to the extent possible, should be conducted via video conferencing and large physical gatherings remain prohibited, the SOPs noted.
“Offices and other workplaces are relatively close environments, with shared spaces such as workstations, hallways, elevators and stairs, parking places, cafeteria / canteens, meeting rooms and conference rooms, etc. Covid- 19 can spread relatively quickly among officials, staff and visitors, “according to procedures.
“It is necessary to prevent the spread of the infection and to respond in a timely and effective manner in the event a suspected case of Covid-19 is detected in these settings, in order to limit the spread of the infection,” the SOPs said.
Office entrances should have mandatory provisions for hand hygiene, such as disinfectant dispensers, heat screens. There should be adequate cleaning and frequent disinfection, at least twice a day, of the workplace, particularly of frequently touched surfaces, according to the document.
The number of people in the elevators will be restricted, duly maintaining the rules of physical distancing for which adequate markings must be made on the elevator floor, the SOPs indicated.
For air conditioning and ventilation, the guidelines of the Central Department of Public Works should be followed and these mention that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30 degrees Celsius, the relative humidity should be in the 40-70% range, fresh air intake should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate, they said.
Periodic cleaning and disinfection with 1% sodium hypochlorite of frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, benches, bathroom fixtures, should be done in offices and common areas at least twice a day, based on new standard operating procedures.
The document said that any store, stall, cafeteria or canteen outside and inside the office premises must ensure that physical distance rules are followed at all times.
Staff should take their temperature regularly and monitor respiratory symptoms, and should consult a doctor if they feel ill or show flu-like symptoms.
Additionally, staff and waiters should wear a mask and hand gloves and take other necessary precautionary measures. The seating arrangements must be made to ensure a distance of at least six feet, the SOPs noted.

Times of India