With the number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases in India going up to 114, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday issued an advisory on Social Distancing Measure in view of the spread of COVID-19 disease. All these proposed interventions shall be in force till the 31st of March, 2020 and they will be reviewed as per the evolving situation.
'Social-distancing is non-pharmaceutical infection prevention'
Explaining the concept of social distancing and how it will lead to the reduction in spreading of the virus, the official press release said, "Social distancing is a non-pharmaceutical infection prevention and control intervention implemented to avoid/decrease contact between those who are infected with a disease-causing pathogen and those who are not, so as to stop or slow down the rate and extent of disease transmission in a community. This eventually leads to a decrease in spread, morbidity and mortality due to the disease."
The Ministry has proposed the following 15 interventions:
- Closure of all educational establishments (schools, universities etc), gyms, museums, cultural and social centres, swimming pools and theatres. Students should be advised to stay at home. Online education to be promoted.
- Possibility of postponing exams may be explored. Ongoing exams to be conducted only after ensuring a physical distance of one meter amongst students.
- Encourage private sector organizations/employers to allow employees to work from home wherever feasible.
- Meetings, as far as feasible, shall be done through video conferences. Minimize or reschedule meetings involving a large number of people unless necessary
- Restaurants to ensure handwashing protocol and proper cleanliness of frequently touched surfaces. Ensure physical distancing (minimum 1 metre) between tables; encourage open-air seating where practical with adequate distancing.
- Keep already planned weddings to a limited gathering, postpone all non-essential social and cultural gatherings.
- Local authorities to have a dialogue with organizers of sporting events and competitions involving large gatherings and they may be advised to postpone such events.
- Local authorities to have a dialogue with opinion leaders and religious leaders to regulate mass gatherings and should ensure no overcrowding/at least one-metre distance between people.
- Local authorities to have a meeting with traders associations and other stakeholders to regulate hours, exhibit Do’s and Don’ts and take up a communication drive-in market places like sabzi mandi, anaj mandi, bus depots, railway stations, post-offices etc., where essential services are provided.
- All commercial activities must keep a distance of one meter between customers. Measures to reduce peak hour crowding in markets.
- Non-essential travel should be avoided. Buses, Trains and aeroplanes to maximize social distancing in public transport besides ensuring regular and proper disinfection of surfaces.
- Hospitals to follow the necessary protocol related to COVID-19 management as prescribed and restrict family/friends/children visiting patients in hospitals.
- Hygiene and physical distancing have to be maintained. Shaking hands and hugging as a matter of greeting to be avoided.
- Special protective measures for delivery men/ women working in online ordering services.
- Keep communities informed consistently and constantly.
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A total of 114 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been reported in India so far including 13 cured and two reported deaths, Lav Aggarwal, Joint Secretary, Union Health Ministry said on Monday.
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(Image credits: PTI)