New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: With the country preparing for the ‘Unlock 1.0’, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Thursday night released the standard operating procedures (SOPs) for offices, saying that social distancing norms should be ensured to contain COVID-19 spread.

While issuing the guidelines, the Health Ministry further said that it will be compulsory for the employees and staff to use face masks.

“Offices and other workplaces are relatively close settings, with shared spaces like work stations, corridors, elevators, stairs, parking places, cafeteria, meeting rooms and conference halls etc. and COVID-19 infection can spread relatively fast among officials, staffs and visitors,” the government said.

Here is the complete list of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for offices announced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to contain the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus:

General Guidelines:

  • People above 65 years of age, persons with comorbidities, pregnant women are advised to stay at home, except for essential and health purposes.
  • Employees would need to maintain a minimum distance of 6 feet in public places as far as possible.
  • It will be compulsory for employees and staff to use face masks.
  • Practice frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty. Use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers (for at least 20 seconds) can be made wherever feasible.
  • Employees and staff are strictly advised to cover their face while coughing and sneezing.
  • Spitting will be strictly prohibited.
  • It will be mandatory for employees to use Aarogya Setu App.

Specific Guidelines:

  • Entrance to have mandatory hand hygiene (sanitizer dispenser) and thermal screening provisions.
  • Offices in containment zones will remain closed except for medical and essential services and only those outside will be allowed to open up.
  • Any officer and staff residing in containment zone should inform the same to supervisory officer and not attend the office till containment zone is denotified. Such staff should be permitted to work from home and it will not be counted as leave period.
  • Meetings should be done through video conferencing.
  • Drivers should maintain social distancing and prescribed 'dos and don'ts' related to COVID-19. It should be ensured by the service providers and officers that drivers residing in containment zones are not allowed to drive vehicles.
  • The interior of the vehicles should be disinfected using 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite solution/spray and the steering, door handles, keys, etc. should be properly disinfected.
  • Staggering of office hours, lunch hours and coffee breaks should be done to avoid COVID-19 spread.
  • For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD shall be followed which inter alia emphasises that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30oC, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate.
  • Seating arrangement should ensure a distance of at least 1 metre between patrons as far as feasible.
  • Cleaning and regular disinfection (using 1% sodium hypochlorite) of frequently touched surfaces (door knobs, elevator buttons, hand rails, benches, washroom fixtures, etc.) shall be done in office premises and in common areas.

What if a COVID-19 case is found in the premises?

  • The nearest medical facility or the state or the district helpline should be informed and a risk assessment undertaken by the designated public health authority. Accordingly, further advice shall be made regarding the management of case, his/her contacts and the need for disinfection.
  • The suspect case, if reporting very mild/mild symptoms on assessment by the health authorities, would be placed under home isolation while if assessed by health authorities as moderate to severe, will be treated as per the health protocols in appropriate health facilities.
  • The rapid response team of the district concerned shall be requisitioned and it will undertake the listing of contacts.
  • The necessary actions for contact-tracing and disinfection of workplace will start once the report of the patient is received as positive.

Posted By: Aalok Sensharma