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The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Monday issued guidelines outlining the preventive measures that should be followed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in workplace settings.

As per the new guidelines, the entire office building need not be closed if one or two positive cases are reported.

“If there are one or two cases reported, the disinfection procedure will be limited to places/areas visited by the patient in the past 48 hrs. There is no need to close the entire office building/halt work in other areas of the office and work can be resumed after disinfection as per laid down protocol,” the guidelines stated.

However, if there is a larger outbreak, the entire building needs to be closed for 48 hours after thorough disinfection, it added.

“All the staff will work from home, till the building is adequately disinfected and is declared fit for re-occupation,” the guidelines said.

The guidelines also stated that any staff reportedly suffering from a flu-like illness should not attend office and seek medical advice from local health authorities.

Such persons, if diagnosed as a suspect/confirmed case of COVID-19 should immediately inform the official authorities, it said.

“Any staff requesting home quarantine based on the containment zone activities in their residential areas should be permitted to work from home,” it added.

The guidelines also stated that the high-risk exposure contacts would be quarantined for 14 days and they need to follow the guidelines on home quarantine and undergo testing as per ICMR protocol while low-risk exposure contacts can continue to work and closely monitor their health for next 14 days.

The ministry also recommended that physical distancing of at least one meter, mandatory use of face covers or masks, frequent hand washing, respiratory etiquettes and self-monitoring of health as basic preventive measures to be followed in an office.

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