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MHA releases Covid-19 safety guidelines for workplaces

If one or two cases are reported in the office, places visited by the patient over the last 48 hours will be disinfected. The entire building does not have to be sealed.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Published: May 19, 2020 12:34:35 am
According to the guidelines, employees should maintain a minimum distance of one metre from each other. (Express photo by Nirmal Harindran)

A day after central guidelines for lockdown 4.0 relaxed restrictions on employees coming to office,  the Ministry of Home Affairs Monday released guidelines on measures to be taken to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the workplace.

According to a circular released by the MHA, there are four types of measures to be taken to check the spread of the virus.

Basic preventive measures

  • Social distancing is mandatory and should be followed at all times. A minimum distance of one metre should be maintained
  • Face masks are compulsory
  • Hands should be washed frequently using soap and water and alcohol-based hand sanitisers should be used for at least 20 seconds
  • Individuals should cover their nose with their flexed elbow while sneezing or should sneeze into a handkerchief or tissue and dispose the tissue immediately
  • All individuals should monitor their health everyday and report if they are feeling sick as soon as possible

Preventive measures for offices

  • Persons having flu-like symptoms should not attend office and should seek medical attention from local health authorities. If they test positive for Covid-19, they should inform the authorities concerned in the office immediately.
  • A member of the staff requesting home quarantine due to restrictions in containment zones should be allowed to work from home.

Measures to be taken on occurrence of cases

If persons working in the office are suffering from flu-like symptoms,

  • They should be isolated in the office and provided with a face mask until they are given medical attention by a doctor
  • Employers should report to the helpline 1075 and the state or central health authorities concerned immediately
  • A public health authority will then carry out a risk assessment to decide the next course of action, be it disinfection or contact tracing
  • A patient reporting mild symptoms will be placed under home quarantine
  • Contact tracing and disinfection will be carried out once the patient tests positive

Contacts of an infected person will be categorised as high risk and low risk contacts during contact tracing. Persons who are considered high risk contacts (had direct physical contact with the patient, touched body fluids of the patient, cleaned personal items of the patient, lives in the same house and did not maintain social distancing with the patient) will be home quarantined for 14 days, while those who are low risk contacts (shared the same work space with the patient and travelled in the same environment as the patient) will be monitored at work for 14 days.

Closure of workplace

If one or two cases are reported in the office, places visited by the patient over the last 48 hours will be disinfected. Work will be resumed after disinfection. In case of a large outbreak, the building will be sealed for 48 hours after disinfection, while the staff will work from home until the building is declared fit for occupation.

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