Centre issues fresh guidelines for offices: All you need to know

As coronavirus cases in India are declining consistently, the Union Ministry of Health has issued new guidelines for workplaces. Offices can now resume work after proper disinfection, in case Covid-19 cases are reported, without closing or sealing the premises, according to new guidelines from the Union Ministry of Health.

In order to contain the spread of Covid in office settings, the Union Health Ministry's fresh guidelines for workplace mentions:

1) If there are one or two cases of Covid-19 reported at a workplace, the disinfection procedure will be limited to the places/areas occupied and visited by the patient in the last 48 hours and work can be resumed after the disinfection as per laid down protocol.

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

3) Since offices and other workplaces are relatively close settings, with common spaces such as workstations, corridors, elevators, stairs, parking lots, cafeteria/canteens, meeting rooms, and conference halls, COVID-19 infection is likely to spread relatively fast between officials, employees, and visitors. Since there is a need to prevent the spread of the infection and respond in a timely and effective manner in case a suspect case of COVID-19 is detected in these settings, so as to limit the spread of infection, it added.

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4) The guidelines highlighted that office in containment areas must remain closed, except for medical and essential services.

5) Only those outside containment zones will be allowed to open up.
6) According to the guidelines, mandatory hand hygiene and thermal screening should be ensured at the entrance and only asymptomatic staff and visitors should be allowed.

7) The Ministry said that these measures need to be observed by all employees and visitors at all times.

8) These Include maintaining a distance of at least 6 feet in common places, wearing face covers or masks at all times, and practicing frequent hand washing.

9) Meetings, as far as feasible should be done through video conferencing, it added.

10) In case any covid case is reported despite taking appropriate measures, management must place the patient in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace according to the guidelines.

Meanwhile, all employees of the central government have been asked to come to the office on working days, to a Personnel Ministry order. In May, the center had asked 50 percent of its employees below the level of Deputy Secretary to work from their offices, while implementing different time slots in its effort to further check the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Sunday, the number of active COVID-19 caseload remains below 1.5 lakh.

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