The Health Ministry on Sunday issued guidelines for disinfecting public places including offices and a set of dos and don'ts for the elderly in view of the coronavirus outbreak.
In its guidelines on environment cleaning, decontamination of public places in areas reporting COVID-19, the ministry said outdoor areas have less risk than indoor areas due to air currents and exposure to sunlight.
"These include bus stops, railway platforms, parks, roads. Cleaning and disinfection efforts should be targeted to frequently touched/contaminated surfaces. Sanitary workers must use a separate set of cleaning equipment for toilets (mops, nylon scrubber) and a separate set for sink and commode. They should always wear disposable protective gloves while cleaning a toilet," the guidelines stated.
The guidelines said indoor areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, meeting rooms, cafeteria and high-contact surfaces such elevator buttons, handrails/handles and call buttons, should be mopped with a disinfectant with 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite or phenolic disinfectants.
For metallic surfaces like door handles, security locks, keys, the ministry recommended 70 per cent alcohol to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable.
Frequently Asked Questions
A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.
There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.
Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.
Recommending the use of personal protective equipment, it said the PPE should be worn while carrying out cleaning and disinfection work.
"Wear disposable rubber boots, gloves (heavy duty), and a triple-layer mask and gloves should be removed and discarded and a new pair worn. All disposable PPE should be removed and discarded after cleaning activities are completed," it said.
The guidelines for the use of mask has been described through images.
For the elderly, the ministry advised complete stay at home as they were at a higher risk of COVID-19 infection due to their decreased immunity and body reserves, as well as multiple associated comorbidities.
"Exercise and meditate. Take your daily prescribed medicines regularly. Talk to your family members (not staying with you), relatives, friends via call or video conferencing, take help from family members if needed. Postpone your elective surgeries (if any) like cataract surgery or total knee replacement" are some of the dos prescribed by the ministry for the aged.The don'ts include avoiding going to the hospital for routine checkups or follow up, avoid crowded places like parks, markets and religious places among others.