With focus on contact tracing, BMC issues do’s and don’ts for private and public places
Geetanjali Minhas | September 12, 2020 | Mumbai
As coronavirus refuses to abate, Maharashtra has become the first state in India to cross 1 million mark in terms of confirmed cases and stares at shortage of medical oxygen. Every day 2,000-3,000 new patients require oxygen support across the state. Those in a critical condition need 40-60 litres of oxygen per minute. As per official figures, Maharashtra has more than 10 lakh cases and 29,000 deaths due to the pandemic. After the unlock relaxations and plateauing of cases in July-August with the onset of the festive season since the Ganpati festival, there has been a resurgence of Covid cases in Mumbai.
Making an appeal to citizens and announcing the 'My Family, My Responsibility' campaign that the BMC is launching on September 15, municipal commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has said the campaign is being launched to gain complete control over coronavirus. “Citizens need to comply with the measures prescribed by the government and cooperate for effective control over the pandemic. Until we get complete control over the situation and an effective vaccine against coronavirus is found, it is important that we make some changes to our lifestyle. Going beyond the use of masks, maintaining physical distancing and use of sanitizers it is now necessary that we adopt some changes in our personal, familial and public lives.”
The campaign will be implemented in the areas under BMC jurisdiction and for education of healthcare practices to be followed among citizens with the involvement of citizens’ representatives and NGO’s. The 'My Family, My Responsibility' campaign will be conducted over one and a half month initially and may extend further.
With citizens becoming lax about wearing masks, maintaining hygiene and overcrowding at public places, BMC will reinforce a preventive three-pronged approach:
(1) Maintain safe distance of at least two metres between two persons,
(2) Regular and proper use of masks, and
(3) Frequent hand washing with soap and water and proper use of sanitizer among citizens for taking preventive precautions in personal, family and public life.
Volunteers of the BMC’s Public Health Department will reach out to every family and go door-to-door to check temperature and oxygen levels. Citizens will be given information on healthcare, search for suspected patients of Covid-19 and implementation of referral services for treatment. Those with co-morbidities such as diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease and obesity will also be provided referral treatment. Volunteers will meet each family twice during the campaign.
In order to effectively curtail the spread of coronavirus, it is extremely important that all members of the family take necessary care and remain vigilant to avoid even inadvertent mistakes. BMC is now focusing on contact tracing in both slums and high rises.
“In a targeted approach, BMC will collect all information of residents, senior citizens and their comorbidities for a regular follow-up. Citizens must cooperate with the BMC and help collect their health parameters and adopt behavioural change,” said additional municipal commissioner, Suresh Kakani (Health) sounding a word of caution.
Further, the BMC has come out with Do’s and Don’ts to be followed at individual, family, housing society/ colony levels, for shopping, using public transports and at office and workplaces.
• Measure body temperature and oxygen level every morning.
• Always use mask. Do not remove it. The mask should not be removed or worn under the nose/face.
• Family members should ensure that each member of the family if taking due care.
• Do not touch your face or mask often.
• After using single-use masks, spray sanitizer and then cut them into pieces before disposing in order to prevent reuse.
• Carry a bottle of sanitizer and use it as and when needed.
• Keep your hands clean by washing them frequently with soap.
• Carry a clean handkerchief. If you have cold or cough use a mask and handkerchief regularly.
• Reusable masks should be washed daily using a sanitizer.
• Family members should use different masks and mark their respective masks to avoid confusion. Do not share masks.
• Do not look directly at each other's faces while talking.
• Include nutritious and vitamin rich food in your diet
• Instead of taking food from the same pot or pan repeatedly while eating take the required quantity of food at once in a plate.
• Avoid talking while having food.
• Include more vegetables, vitamins and protein-rich food in the meal.
• Have adequate food, adequate sleep and practice exercises/yoga/pranayama etc. to build immunity.
• Always wear a mask while driving or travelling in a vehicle. Talking to traffic police or other citizens without wearing a mask increases the risk of infection. Wear a mask at all times while travelling.
• Avoid confined environment, crowding and close contact with others.
• Don't wait for too long in a cramped place.
• Make sure there are fewer people and at a safe distance while walking/running.
• Do not spit in public places.
• Take a bath and wash your clothes when you return home from office/outdoors.
• Avoid visiting areas / cities / states / countries where Covid-19 is spreading rapidly.
• Keep a note of places you have visited and people you have met if you have developed symptoms of Covid-19.
• If a member of the family inadvertently violates corona guidelines it should be brought to the person’s notice by other members.
• Always carry an oximeter to measure oxygen levels. The oxygen level of each member of the family should be checked at regular intervals and accurate records should be maintained.
• Carry a thermometer / thermal screening gun.
• Special attention should be paid towards the health of children and senior citizens in the family.
• Ensure members of the family with co-morbidity take medication regularly and maintain their immunity.
• Sit beside each other instead of facing each other while having food with the family.
• As far as possible only one member of the family should go out for work taking all precautions.
• All members of the family should wear clean clothes every day. Do not reuse unwashed clothes.
• Personal items such as mobile phones should not be exchanged among family members. Ensure that even such items remain clean.
• Food parcels should not be left in the kitchen for long if ordered from outside. Immediately cover bins etc. after disposal of food containers/packets.
• Vegetables, fruits etc. brought from the market should be cleaned before using.
• If the parcel ordered online / from outside contains non-perishable items, don't open the parcel for at least a day. Spray sanitizer on it and open it the next day.
• Floors, kitchens, toilets etc. should be cleaned regularly using disinfectants.
• Indian-style toilets should be kept clean and the lid on western-style toilets should be shut before flushing.
• Avoid meeting relatives, friends etc.
• Family events and parties should be avoided. If the event is unavoidable, it should be organised following guidelines set by the government and all necessary measures should be taken.
Measures to be taken in housing societies/colonies
• It should be mandatory for everyone to wear a mask while working in a society/colony.
• Everyone should use sanitizer, mask and gloves when leaving the house.
• Children and senior citizens in the society should not step out of the house unless absolutely necessary.
• Maintain at least six feet distance while communicating with people in the society/colony.
• Avoid using the waiting rooms in societies.
• Avoid touching door handles, hand railings, elevators, benches in the society and parking lots.
• Keep a paper in hand while using the elevator. These pieces of paper should be disposed of immediately after use.
• On returning home from the society/colony, wash your hands thoroughly with sanitizer/soap before touching anything.
• No one from outside the society or premises should be given direct access.
• Ensure that temperature checking, oxygen testing, hand washing facilities are available for helpers, drivers, waste collectors, cleaners etc.
• Arrangements should be made to keep ordered parcels in a safe place at the entrance of the society instead of receiving the order directly at home. Sanitize the parcel before taking it home. If possible leave the parcel in the open for a few hours and then take it home.
• Vehicles should be sanitized before leaving the society.
• Display important contact numbers like nearby municipal health center, hospitals, ward control room (ward war room) etc. in the society premises.
Shopping in markets/shops/malls
• Ensure that only one person from the house goes out for shopping.
• Maintain safe distance from others both inside and outside the shop. Don't enter a shop if it is crowded. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do not touch the hand railing.
• Avoid touching the items on display.
• Use online methods for shopping as far as possible.
• Purchased items should be kept untouched, outside the house/in an open space for some time.
• Shopkeepers should not allow customers not wearing masks to enter.
• Only limited customers should be allowed to enter the shops/markets/shopping complexes while maintaining safe distance.
• Arrangements to check body temperature and sanitizer should be made for everyone entering the shop.
• A limited number of servants / helpers should be appointed in shops/markets/shopping complexes.
• Online/digital methods should be adopted for transactions. The risk of infection can be reduced by ensuring that currency is handled sparingly.
Measures to be taken at workplaces/ offices
• The head of the office / office in-charge should design the office in such a way that there is safe distance between all employees.
• Employees should be called to office alternately and as needed. Working hours should be divided.
• Equipment to check body temperature and oxygen level, sanitizers etc. should be available to all.
• Use video conferencing system for meetings.
• Digital methods should be adopted to minimize human contact.
• Keep the windows open to make way for fresh air. Avoid the use of air conditioning systems.
• Office work tours should be avoided unless absolutely necessary.
• Preference should be given to working from home.
• Commute to work by two-wheeler or on foot if possible
• Travel in less crowded hours.
• Use a mask in the office, sit at a safe distance from others, use sanitizer, wash hands frequently in the office.
• Use a mask and sit at a safe distance while attending meetings in offices.
• Maintain safe distance while interacting with visitors.
• Remind colleagues to measure body temperature, oxygen level etc.
• Avoid sitting together to eat in the office.
• Elevators should be used sparingly in office. Not more than a handful of people should be allowed to use the elevator, standing in opposite directions. Use pieces of paper to press elevator buttons.
Measures to be taken while travelling in private/public vehicles
• Maintain silence while travelling by public transport. Do not talk to fellow passengers unless necessary.
• It is best to use face shield along with a mask.
• Only one person should be seated on a seat while travelling by public transport.
• Avoid travelling in crowded vehicles.
• Do not touch the doors or handles of the vehicle as far as possible. Apply sanitizer on the handles/doors before and after getting out of the vehicle.
• Private two-wheelers/four-wheelers should be preferred for travelling. Do not carry passengers if not necessary.
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