- Ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission of COVID-19
- Smaller aerosol particles are carried in the air up to 10 metres
- The advisory urges people to rigorously follow COVID appropriate behaviour
New Delhi: As India continues to deal with the second wave of COVID-19, the government has released a new set of ‘easy to follow’ guidelines to prevent the infection. The Union government’s principal scientific adviser K Vijay Raghavan released the advisory ‘Stop the Transmission, Crush the Pandemic – Masks, Distance, Sanitation and Ventilation to prevent the spread of SARS-CoV-2 virus’ which said ventilation is a community defence that protects all of us at home or at work.
The guidelines said that the smaller aerosol particles can be carried in the air for 10 metres, as it advised to strictly follow social distancing and wearing double masks. Furthermore, the advisory warns against running air conditioners while keeping windows and doors shut.
Use of proper ventilation can prevent the spread of coronavirus. Running ACs traps infected air inside the room and increases risk of transmission from an infected carrier to others, it read.
It highlights the important role well-ventilated spaces play in diluting the viral load of infected air in poorly ventilated houses, offices, among others.
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Ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission from one infected person to the other, it said.
Just as smells can be diluted from the air through opening windows and doors and using exhaust systems, ventilating spaces with improved directional air flow decreases the accumulated viral land in the air, reducing the risk of transmission, the advisory explained.
Ventilation is a community defence that protects all of us at home or at work. Introducing outdoor air in offices, homes and larger public spaces is advised, it also said.
Measures to improve ventilation in these spaces must be taken up on urgent priority in urban and rural areas alike, recommendations for hutments, homes, offices and large centralised buildings are given. Simple strategic placement of fans, open windows and doors, even slightly open windows can introduce outdoor air and improve the air quality inside, it stated. Introduction of cross ventilation and exhaust fans will be beneficial in curtailing the spread of the disease, it read.
In buildings with central air-management systems, improving central air filtration/increased filtration efficiency is especially helpful when enhanced outdoor air delivery options are limited, according to the guidelines.
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In offices, auditoriums, shopping malls, among others, the use of gable fan systems and roof ventilators are recommended.
Frequent cleaning and replacement of filters is highly recommended, it added.
Saliva and nasal discharge in the form of droplets and aerosols, by an infected person, while exhaling, talking, speaking, singing, laughing, coughing or sneezing is the primary mode of virus transmissions.
Droplets emitted by an infected person land on various surfaces (where they can survive for a long time), the advisory said, calling for frequent cleaning of high contact points such as door handles, light switches, tables, chairs and the floor with disinfectants like bleach and phenyl.
The novel coronavirus infects a human host where it can multiply, in the absence of the host it cannot survive, and stopping the transmission of the virus from a person to another person will decrease the infection rate of the disease to a level where it can eventually die, it added.
The advisory urges people to rigorously follow COVID appropriate behaviour. While droplets fall within two meters from an infected person, smaller aerosol particles are carried in the air up to 10 metres, it said.
Always Remember: people who show no symptoms can also spread the virus, the advisory read.
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People should wear a double layer mask or an N95 mask, which offers maximum protection, the new guidelines said. For double masking, wear a surgical mask, then wear another tight-fitting cloth mask over it, the advisory said, adding that those who do not have a surgical mask can wear two cotton masks together.
Ideally, a surgical mask should be used only once, but when pairing, you can use it up to 5 times by leaving it in a dry place for 7 days after one use. Ideally, give it some sun exposure, it said.
People entering rural/semi-urban areas should undertake Rapid Antigen Test, the document said.
ASHA/Anganwadi/health workers must be trained and protected for conducting the Rapid Antigen Test. These health workers must be given a certified N95 mask even if they are vaccinated. ASHA/Anganwadi/Health Workers to also be provided oximeters to monitor infected person, it read.
The support and cooperation of individuals, communities, local bodies and authorities were necessary to stop the transmission of the virus and decrease the infection rate to a level where it can eventually die, with the use of masks, ventilation, distancing, and sanitation, the battle against the virus can be won, it said.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.