ISLAMABAD, Oct 25 (APP): The Ministry of National Health Services has asked the doctors and other staff working at federal capital hospitals to take special preventive measures to avoid spreading the Coronavirus.
According to an official of the ministry, directions have been issued keeping in view the increasing number of COVID19 cases amongst doctors and staff of Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) and Federal Government Polyclinic (FGPC) hospital. As per reports, 62 doctors are suffering from the disease only in PIMS’s various departments including nine in general surgery, seven in nephrology, seven in medical team-2, six in gastro, five in MCH, five in cardiac centre, seven in Paeds, four in medical ward-1, four in urology, three in dermatology, two in orthopedic and one each in pulmonology, CMO and neurology.
These COVID19 positive cases were reported the in second phase while cases of reinfection were also reported. The hospital has to close some departments to stop further spread of the disease. Meanwhile, the citizens have also been asked to rigorously follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) in markets, food establishments and restaurants in the country to help mitigate the exposure to the COVID19.
The official said these guidelines provide practices that address specific health and safety concerns related to the spread of COVID19, and to put protocols into practice during shopping and taking food in restaurants. He said that the COVID19 pandemic has struck the world due to rapid human-to-human transmission and preventive measures play an important role in limiting the spread of a disease and can help reducing the infection transmission and unnecessary burden on health care facilities.
As per guidelines, there are clear directions to prohibit sick employees in the shops or workplace, ensuring and following strict hand-washing practices, maintaining social distancing, ensuring practices regarding surface cleaning and disinfecting and ensuring food safety manager is on site at all times during operating hours. Similarly, all concerned have been asked to follow SOPs related with equipment and physical structure like making sure utilities are working (electrical, plumbing, and heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and fire suppression), flush water system and all plumbed food equipment for a minimum of five minutes.
He said that equipment should be properly washed, rinsed and sanitized and pipes drained, assess and discard food that is no longer safe (expired or spoiled foods), wash, rinse, and sanitize all food contact surfaces, use single-use items as much as possible, such as packets of ketchup or salt, thoroughly clean and repair all physical facilities including floors, walls, and ceilings and display of posters for preventive measures at prominent places.
The official also asked to maintain recommended social distancing guidelines and ensuring ventilation for indoor seating arrangement. He asked to prefer outdoor dining at tables spaced at least six feet apart from other people, tables must not block entrances, exits, pedestrian or handicapped access, parking spaces may be used for dining tables, but there must be a physical barrier or separation to protect customers from vehicle traffic and ensuring outdoor dining areas are maintained and free of trash and other debris.
For customer protection, the government has asked to ensure thermal scanning of customers, using menus that are disposable or sanitized between each use, cleaning and disinfecting touched surfaces hourly, maintaining social distance of six feet in any entryway, hallway, or waiting area, ensuring dining groups are seated at least six feet apart and remove or block extra seating, utilizing contactless payment systems, or provide hand-washing or hand gel for employees handling payment, maximizing pick-up or delivery services and encouraging the use of face mask when not eating, he added.
Similarly, in order to prevent the spread of COVID19 through employee, health monitoring is critical besides steps including training of workers on symptoms of COVID19 illness and on required hand hygiene, ensuring thermal scanning of employees, encouraging workers to stay home if they are sick, ensuring hand-washing sinks are stocked with soap and paper towels and hand sanitizers are available, ensuring use of face coverings by employees and staggering work schedules as much as possible to reduce employee contact, he said.
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