Under new health guidelines, India’s offices can now resume work after proper disinfection, in case Covid-19 cases are reported, without closing or sealing 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.
Hence, there is a need to prevent the spread of infection and to respond in a timely and effective manner in case suspect case of Covid-19 is detected in these settings, so as to limit the spread of infection, it added.
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.
The ministry further said 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 practising frequent hand washing.