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Coronavirus | Health Ministry issues COVID-19 guidelines for gated residential complexes

A view of the self-contained gate community, in Ongole. File   | Photo Credit: Kommuri Srinivas

The Union Health Ministry has issued a coronavirus (COVID-19) advisory for gated residential complexes, asking them to make provisions for hand hygiene (sanitiser dispenser) at entry points and in work areas.

The advisory says thermal screening of visitors/staff should be carried out at entry points and only asymptomatic individuals allowed to enter the premises. Vendors, household help, car cleaners, delivery personnel, etc. will also undergo such screening daily. Physical distancing of at least six feet should be followed as far as feasible at all locations at all times in all common areas, including parks, corridors, lift lobbies, gyms, clubs, etc.

Also read: Coronavirus | Health Ministry issues new guidelines for workplaces

It notes that all those above 65 years of age, those with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 should be told to stay only at home and keep contact with visitors/guests to a minimum.

Other COVID-19 management measures include mandatory use of face covers/masks and frequent hand washing with soap (for at least 40-60 seconds) even when hands are not visibly dirty, use of alcohol-based hand sanitisers (for at least 20 seconds) wherever feasible, strict observance of respiratory etiquettes such as covering the mouth and the nose while coughing/sneezing with a tissue/handkerchief/flexed elbow, and proper disposal of used tissues.

“Self-monitoring of health by all and reporting any illness at the earliest to state and district helpline. Spitting shall be strictly prohibited”, the advisory says.

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It emphasises adopting simple preventive measures, early reporting of symptoms and informing the community about the myths and stigma that patients, healthcare and other front line workers often encounter.

RWAs’ role 

If a gated complex is declared as a containment zone, the resident welfare association (RWA) will cooperate with the local health authorities in carrying out various activities as stipulated in the containment plan.

The Ministry says small COVID-19 care facilities can be set up in gated residential complexes with the resources of RWAs/residential societies/NGOs for management of suspect / asymptomatic / pre-symptomatic / very mild cases.

These facilities are not meant for elderly patients, children (<10 years), pregnant/lactating women, patients with comorbidities (diabetes, hypertension, heart, kidney and chronic respiratory diseases, cancer and other immune-compromised states), who shall be admitted to the appropriate Covid Care Health Facility.

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These facilities shall be made operational only if the required guidelines and standards are met and shall be continued as per the direction issued by the local health authorities.

Measures to be taken on occurrence of case(s) include that the RWA shall encourage residents to self-report symptoms and facilitate their testing, isolation and quarantine of contacts.

Counselling, guidance and support to COVID-19-affected individuals and families will be provided. Special attention is required in such households, which have no family member to take care of the dependents.

Also read: Coronavirus | Health Ministry issues new guidelines for hotels, malls

Risk assessment

 A risk assessment will be undertaken by the designated public health authority and, accordingly, further advice shall be made regarding management of case, his/her contacts and need for disinfection.

If a decision is taken by the public health authority for home quarantine of contacts/ home isolation of patient, the RWA shall facilitate those under home quarantine/home isolation to remain within their homes.

“Provide social support and avoid stigmatisation of those under home quarantine/isolation.[These] actions to be undertaken if gated complex is declared as part of a containment zone,” says the advisory.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 10:38:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/health-ministry-issues-covid-19-guidelines-for-gated-residential-complexes/article32121311.ece

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