As a preventive measure against the novel coronavirus pandemic or COVID-19, the Ministry of Health has issued fresh guidelines for disinfecting public places including offices in areas reporting the deadly virus.
For the ease of implementation, the guidelines have been divided into these areas into (i) indoor areas, (ii) outdoor areas and (iii) public toilets.
According to the ministry, outdoor areas have less risk than indoor areas due to air currents and exposure to sunlight.
Indoor areas such as office spaces, including conference rooms should be cleaned every evening after office hours or early in the morning before the rooms are occupied.
The guidelines said that prior to cleaning, the worker should wear disposable rubber boots, gloves (heavy duty), and a triple-layer mask.
Guidelines for preparation of 1% sodium hypochlorite solution
All indoor areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, elevators, office rooms, meeting rooms, cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant with one per cent sodium hypochlorite or phenolic disinfectants.
"Frequently touched areas like tabletops, chair handles, pens, diary files, keyboards, mouse, mouse pad, tea/coffee, dispensing machines etc. should especially be cleaned," said the guidelines.
Also, high contact surfaces such elevator buttons, equipment like telephone, printers/scanners, and other office machines should be cleaned twice daily by mopping with a linen/absorbable cloth soaked in one per cent sodium hypochlorite.
Hand-sanitizing stations should be installed in office premises (especially at the entry) and near high contact surfaces.
Hand-washing technique with soap and water
In addition, all employees should consider cleaning the work area in front of them with a disinfecting wipe prior to use and sit one seat further away from others, if possible, according to the guidelines.
In outdoor areas, such as bus stops, railway platforms, parks, roads, etc., cleaning and disinfection efforts should be targeted to frequently-touched contaminated surfaces.
For public toilets, sanitary workers must use a separate set of cleaning equipment for toilets (mops, nylon scrubber) and a separate set for sink and commode). They should always wear disposable protective gloves while cleaning a toilet.
According to the guidelines, workers must disinfect all cleaning equipment after use and before using in other area and buckets by soaking in bleach solution in hot water.
Wear appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) while carrying out cleaning and disinfection work, it added.