CHANDIGARH, MAY 13 (Punjab Mail)- The Punjab Government issued the advisory regarding the quarantine of returnees from outside the country asymptomatic contacts in the hotel/private facilities. Disclosing this official spokesperson of the Punjab Government said that the Government has allowed the quarantine of all the returnees from outside the country at private quarantine facilities. All such persons who are either “asymptomatic on arrival” or “who have similar symptoms but test negative for COVID-19” on arrival shall be kept in strict quarantine- at home or private facilities, as per the option of such person.

He said that a large number of facilities such as hotels, service apartments, lodges etc. are unoccupied due to the impact of COVID-19 on travel and tourism. Similarly, there may be instances where people do not have requisite space at home and may opt for a private facility for quarantine.

The spokesperson said that the guidelines for quarantine at such private facilities have been laid under this advisory. He said that Guidelines for the Facility managers says that a facility manager shall ensure the certain things before opting to offer his/her private facility for this model which include that the quarantine and isolation facility (applicable only if home/private facility isolation is permitted by GoP) will not co-exist and the facility owner will have a choice to dedicate the facility for either of the two. These facilities will offer single room with attached washrooms on paid basis to contacts. The tariff for the accommodation and services shall be fixed by the facility in consultation with the Government and shall be widely publicized. The tariff shall be properly explained to the interested person who opts for such facility beforehand. Such facility that opts for both quarantine and isolation (though not presently permissible) will have to have earmark separate areas for keeping suspect cases and confirmed cases and shall ensure that no inter-mingling of these two categories happen at any time. The contact opting for such quarantine facility will give an undertaking. The facility owner of the quarantine shall make such additional arrangements as she/he shall ensure the availability of the doctor on daily basis. The doctor shall monitor the contacts in quarantine facilities once a day on basic parameters — temperature, pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and pulse oxymetry and keep a record of the same with regard to all contacts in the facility. The doctor engaged by the facility will inform the District Surveillance Officer regarding the list of contacts admitted to such facility and their health status on daily basis. The facility should network with an approved laboratory for testing samples as per the ICMR guidelines. The quarantined persons should not be allowed to meet visitors, including relatives. They can, however, talk on phone. The facility shall provide Wi-Fi facility and ensure that the client downloads the COVA App (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=in.gov.punjab.cova&hl=en_IN) on mobile and it should remain active at all times (through Bluetooth and location service). The facility should train its staff to call 108 free Ambulance service or any other Ambulance as per requirement.

The advisory for Disinfection of the facility says Indoor areas including office spaces, lobbies, common rooms etc. should be cleaned every evening and early in the morning before the rooms are occupied. If the contact surface is visibly dirty, it should be cleaned with soap and water prior to disinfection. Prior to cleaning, the cleaner should wear disposable rubber boots, gloves (heavy duty), and a cloth mask. Start cleaning from cleaner areas and proceed towards dirtier areas. All indoor areas such as entrance lobbies, corridors and staircases, escalators, elevators, security guard booths, office rooms, meeting rooms, cafeteria should be mopped with a disinfectant with 1% sodium hypochlorite or equivalent disinfectants commercially available in the market. High contact surfaces such as elevator buttons, handrails / handles and call buttons, escalator handrails, public counters, intercom systems, equipment like telephone, printers/scanners, and other office machines should be cleaned twice daily by mopping with a linen/absorbable cloth soaked in 1% sodium hypochlorite. Frequently touched areas like table tops, chair handles, pens, diary files, keyboards, mouse, mouse pad, tea/coffee dispensing machines etc. should specially be cleaned. For metallic surfaces like door handles, security locks, keys etc. 70% alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable. Carefully clean the equipment used in cleaning at the end of the cleaning process. Protective gear used during sanitation process should be discarded as per the requirements.

For the Quarantine Rooms the advisory says that the rooms occupied by the contacts cases should be cleaned by the cleaning staff only after wearing appropriate protective gear (rubber gloves, masks, rubber boots, apron etc.). Persons under quarantine should be instructed to bag their trash and place the closed bag outside their door for daily pick up. Similarly, persons under quarantine should also be instructed to bag their soiled linens and place the closed bag outside their door for pick up. Cleaning, laundry, and trash removal staff should wear disposable gloves and gowns for all tasks in the cleaning process, including collection of closed bags. Staff should remove and change gloves after cleaning a room or area occupied by persons under quarantine before moving to the next room. After delivering bags to their final destination, staff should clean and disinfect any hard, cleanable surfaces where bags have been stored (such as on carts or on the floor). Laundry and trash removal staff collecting the closed bags should remove their gloves promptly after bags are delivered to their destination and cleaning and disinfection has been performed. Any time staff removes gloves, wash the hands with soap for at least 40 seconds by applying the soap gently on the palm and back of the hand including web spaces between the fingers and space as well as between the finger and the thumb and the wrist. Also, the staff can use alcohol-based sanitizer (minimum 70% ethyl alcohol v/v) which can be mounted at the entrance of the rooms. The sanitizers are to be refilled/replaced frequently. Use a minimum of 3mL of the sanitizer (approximately 2 pushes of sanitizer dispenser) on DRY HANDS for at least 30 seconds for good hygienic hand disinfection. If possible, for fabrics or other materials that can be laundered, use the warm water setting and dry items completely on high heat. If a person under quarantine has a special need for assisted cleaning (e.g., an elderly person who is unable to clean a spill such as vomiting in their quarters), appointed health personnel will oversee the cleaning process as part of their evaluation of the individual.  Rooms vacated by contacts cases should remain closed to further use until cleaned and disinfected by appropriately trained cleaning staff. The room should not be entered by cleaning staff for at least for 24 hours.

The advisory further says that the in-house catering should only provide room services for freshly cooked food duly following physical distancing and environmental sanitation. Pantry in the facility, if any, should also be cleaned as the other inside office spaces. Special care needs to be taken while cleaning the slabs and the sinks, if any with soap/detergent and water. The utensils should be properly cleaned with dish wash bars /liquids and water. The utensils should not be shared amongst the staff/contacts. Raw fruits/vegetables should be washed with lukewarm water before consumption. Similarly, the milk packets shall be washed with soap and water before opening the same for usage. The facility owner will give an undertaking to follow the above guidelines and to have adequate manpower including the above mentioned health workers as per the prescribed protocol. The contacts/suspected cases will stay under quarantine period for 14 days from the date of last exposure.

Likewise the Guidelines for the Quarantined person shall be the same as the guidelines for the person in Home quarantine issued vide no. MD/NHM/2020/3322(R)-3326(R) Dated 8.5.2020.