Centre issues guidelines on preventive measures to contain spread of COVID-19 in offices

New Delhi: The Centre has issued Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) on preventive measures to contain spread of COVID-19 in offices. In the SOP, Union Health Ministry has said that Offices in containment zones shall remain closed except for medical and essential services and only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up. It said, the generic preventive measures include simple public health measures that are to be followed to reduce the risk of infection with COVID 19.

The Ministry added that these measures need to be observed by all employees and visitors at all times. These include maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet in common places, use of face covers or masks at all times and practicing frequent hand washing.

With regard to specific preventive measures for offices, the Health Ministry said that mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening should be ensured at the entrance and only asymptomatic staff and visitors should be allowed entry. Besides, any officer and staff residing in the containment zone should inform the same to the supervisory officer and not attend the office till the containment zone is denotified. Such staff should be permitted to work from home.

As per SoP, meetings, as far as feasible, should be done through video conferencing. It said, proper crowd management in the parking lots and outside the premises, physical distancing norms should be ensured.

With regard to measures to be taken on occurrence of Covid case, the Health Ministry has advised to place the ill person in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace and provide a mask till such time he or she is examined by a doctor. It said, if there are one or two cases reported, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places or areas occupied and visited by the patient in the past 48 hours and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol.

In case of larger number of cases are being reported at the workplace, the whole block or building, as the case may be, should be disinfected.

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