The Union Health Ministry of India has passed an order stating that the offices can resume their work after disinfection if Covid-19 cases are reported on the premises.
In order to contain the spread of Covid-19 in office settings, the Union health ministry’s fresh guidelines for workplace mentions: “If there are one or two Covid-19 cases reported at a workplace, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places/areas occupied and visited by the patient in past 48 hours and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol.”
The guidelines further mentioned that in case of a larger number of Covid-19 cases are being reported at the workplace, the whole block or building, as the case may be, should be disinfected.
As offices and other workplaces are relatively close settings, with shared spaces like workstations, corridors, elevators and stairs, parking places, cafeteria/canteens, meeting rooms and conference halls, it is most likely that Covid-19 infection can spread relatively fast among officials, staffs and visitors, it said.
Meanwhile, as per the usual guidelines, mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening of workers needed to be ensured at the entrance with only asymptomatic staff and visitors being allowed entry. Apart from these, maintaining a minimum distance of 6 feet in common places, use of face covers or masks at all times and frequent hand washing should be practiced as usual.
The guidelines’ highlighted that office in containment zones shall remain closed except for medical and essential services. Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up, it further mentioned.
The guidelines said that mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening should be ensured at the entrance and only asymptomatic staff and visitors should be allowed entry.
Meetings, as far as feasible should be done through video conferencing, it added.
“A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority and accordingly further advice shall be made regarding the management of the case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection. The management of cases and contacts will be done as per the existing protocol,” it said.