- Remember the mantra – cover news and not become the news: UNICEF
- Wear a mask when outside, wash your hands with soap or sanitise: UNICEF
- Pregnant women and elderly people should work from home: UNICEF
New Delhi: On Monday (April 21), out of the 171 media professionals – including electronic and print media journalists, photographers and cameramen – tested for the novel coronavirus, 53 journalists tested positive for COVID-19. The journalists were tested during a special camp organised at the Azad Maidan in Mumbai on April 16 and 17. Following this Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal also said that his government will conduct COVID-19 test on media persons in the national capital.
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Media professionals also count among all the frontline warriors fighting the battle against COVID-19. While bringing news from the ground, they are highly vulnerable to contracting the infectious disease COVID-19. In a bid to protect journalists from the novel coronavirus, UNICEF has issued a set of safety guidelines.
The 17 pointer guidelines reiterate the message of hand washing maintaining good health and hygiene, social distancing, wearing a face mask while venturing out, and other precautionary and preventive measures.
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The guidelines released by the UNICEF clearly ask journalists to perform their duty while remembering their responsibility towards themselves, their family and society. It reads,
Let us remember the Mantra: Our responsibilities are to cover news and not to become the news. We should not contribute to further spreading the Coronavirus or COVID-19.
Further stressing on hand washing, UNICEF has asked journalists to wash their hands with soap and water as often as possible, especially after reporting.
If there is no water, carry wet wipes and then use an alcohol based sanitizer. Wash your hands after reporting as soon as you can. Don’t forget to sanitize your mobile phone using alcohol-based sanitisers, reads the UNICEF guidelines.
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While interviewing anyone, UNICEF has asked to maintain a distance of at least six feet. In case of interviewing government officials, UNICEF has asked to make use of technology and resort to a digital press conference.
To further avoid the physical contact and ensure physical distancing, it is suggested to use directional mics that too from a distance rather than a lapel or clip-on mic. And while shooting also, especially in containment zones, journalists should avoid keeping equipment on the ground and resort to hand-held shots.
Radio and TV reporters please do not touch the mics at all. Use disinfectant solutions to disinfect the equipment after your return. After which hands must be washed with soap and sanitized, said UNICEF.
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Along with this, journalists are recommended to change their clothes and take a bath as soon as they return from reporting. It’s also suggested to disinfect all the belongings like a purse, keys, pen and other things.
Stressing on the use of mask, how one should wear and change it, UNICEF said,
Wear a mask at all times when outside. You may consider wearing a mask in your office if it is open. You have no idea who has been exposed or where they’ve been. Change it as soon as it gets damp. Remove it from the elastic bands and do not touch the mask itself. Put the new one on by touching only the elastic bands. If possible, try to use N95 masks or you may make home-made masks.
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The UNICEF has also asked to maintain a healthy diet; do not skip meals; eat well cooked/boiled food; disinfect workstation at least twice a day; sanitise hands after getting off a public transport; practise distant seating at a press conference – have a two seats gap between two people; follow coughing etiquettes.
Vulnerable group that is pregnant women and elderly should work from home only and if an individual develops coronavirus symptoms, he/she should immediately report the situation to the office, call a doctor and self-isolate.