MHA issues workplace guidelines; no need to close entire office or halt work if few test positive


NATIONAL | MAY 19, 2020:

Union Health Ministry has issued guidelines on preventive measures to contain spread of COVID-19 in workplace. Any staff reportedly suffering from flu-like illness should not attend office and seek medical advice from local health authorities.

Such persons, if diagnosed as a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19, should immediately inform the office authorities. Any staff requesting home quarantine based on the containment zone activities in their residential areas should be permitted to work from home.

When one or few persons who share a room or close office space are found to be suffering from symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, the ill person must be placed in a room or area where they are isolated from others at the workplace. A mask or face cover must be provided till they are examined by a doctor.

This must be reported to concerned Central or State Health Authorities and Helpline 1075 should be immediately informed. A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated Public Health Authority and further advice shall be made regarding management of case, the contacts and need for disinfection.

The Rapid Response Team of the district shall be requisitioned and will undertake the listing of contacts. The necessary actions for contact tracing and disinfection of work place will start once the report of the patient is received as positive.

The report will be expedited for this purpose. If there are large numbers of contacts from a pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic case, there could be a possibility of a cluster emerging in workplace setting. If there are one or two cases reported, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places and areas visited by the patient in past 48 hours.

There is no need to close the entire office building or halt work in other areas of the office and work can be resumed after disinfection.

However, if there is a larger outbreak, the entire building will have to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection. All the staff will work from home, till the building is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for re-occupation