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Home / India News / An entire building need not be sealed if a Covid-19 case is found: Govt

An entire building need not be sealed if a Covid-19 case is found: Govt

According to the health ministry guidelines for non-Covid hospitals (facilities not exclusively dedicated to the treatment of the deadly infection), when a Covid-19 patient is identified in a building, local health authorities need to be immediately informed, and disinfection procedures at the affected areas should follow.

india Updated: Apr 28, 2020 23:03 IST
Rhythma Kaul
Rhythma Kaul
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
A health worker uses an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of a motorcyclist on a road during a nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India.
A health worker uses an infrared thermometer to measure the temperature of a motorcyclist on a road during a nationwide lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Ahmedabad, India.(REUTERS)

There is no need to seal an entire building if a person living or working there tests positive for the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) because disinfecting the affected floor and common areas could be enough to stop the spread of the infection, according to the Union health ministry directive.

“The health ministry has issued a detailed advisory on dos and don’ts in case a non-Covid hospital reports a Covid-19 case. The same rules apply for office premises or any other building from where a case is reported. There is no need to shut the entire premises; rather one can just do proper disinfection of the main area and other common areas,” said Lav Agarwal, joint secretary, Union health ministry.

According to the health ministry guidelines for non-Covid hospitals (facilities not exclusively dedicated to the treatment of the deadly infection), when a Covid-19 patient is identified in a building, local health authorities need to be immediately informed, and disinfection procedures at the affected areas should follow.

All contacts of the patient should be home-quarantined for 14 days, and authorities should check on their health. Their details must also be shared with the local health authorities.

The building will continue to function if local health authorities are able to identify the source of the infection; if all contacts of the patients can be traced and quarantined; and if adequate sanitisation is done.

But if the building still continues reporting new cases, it would be advisable to temporarily close the specific section of the building from where the maximum numbers are being reported. After thorough cleaning and disinfection it can be put to use again.

However, experts said, whether a building needs to be shut or not depends on its design.

“If the structure has multiple flats or different floors, then there is no need to seal the entire building as per the infection control guidelines. However, all the flats or floor got to remain under observation, and people should watch out for symptoms,” said Dr T Jacob John, professor emeritus and former head of virology at Christian Medical College.

Despite these measures, if the primary source of infection could not be established and/or the building continues reporting large number of cases, then a decision needs to be taken on whether the building would need to be shut down under intimation to the local health department.

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