As India entered the fourth phase of its nationwide lockdown with relaxations and offices and working places opening, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has issued guidelines on preventive and response measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in workplace settings.
According to the guidelines, there is no need to close the entire office building and stall work in other areas of the office, and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol if there are one or two cases of coronavirus reported.
The disinfection procedure will be limited to areas visited by the patient in the past 48 hours.
The Ministry, however, said that if there is a larger outbreak, the entire building will have to be sealed for 48 hours for thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home till the building is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for re-occupation.
The Ministry said if any individual is found to be suffering from symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, it must be immediately reported to the concerned central or state health authorities as well as on the helpline number 1075.
"A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority (district RRT/treating physician) and accordingly further advice shall be made regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection," said the Health Ministry.
It said, "The necessary actions for contact tracing and disinfection of workplace will start once the report of the patient is received as positive. The report will be expedited for this purpose."
The Health Ministry said that all the employees and visitors will follow simple public health measures like respiratory etiquettes, physical distancing of at least one meter, mandatory use of face covers or masks and practice frequent hand washing for at least 40-60 seconds even when hands are not visibly dirty and use of alcohol based hand sanitizers for at least 20 seconds.
"Any staff requesting home quarantine based on the containment zone activities in their residential areas should be permitted to work from home" said the Ministry. India will continue to follow the lockdown till May 31.