A health worker wearing PPE suit attends COVID-19 patients at quarantine Center, CWG Village, in New Delhi on 15 July 2020 (representational image) | ANI
A health worker wearing PPE suit tends to Covid-19 patients in New Delhi | Representational image | ANI File Photo
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New Delhi: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare Saturday issued an advisory to gated residential complexes and Residents Welfare Associations (RWA) to contain the spread of the virus as the number of Covid cases continued to rise in urban areas.

India crossed the 10 lakh-mark this week, recording more than 10.38 lakh cases Saturday morning. About 10 cities account for half these cases.

The government advisory outlined generic preventive steps along with specific measures to deal with the infection within residential complexes in containment zones.

RWAs are increasingly being considered pivotal in the public health framework, with the government even considering including them in its Rs 7,000 crore plan to set up an urban health scheme.

Also read: Govt plans Rs 7,000 cr urban health scheme, will use RWAs to handle Covid shock to cities

General preventive guidelines

Under this, the health ministry has asked RWAs to advise people above 65 years, people with comorbidities, pregnant women and children below the age of 10 to stay at home.

RWAs need to ensure thermal screening of staff and visitors and allow only asymptomatic individuals onto the premises. RWAs must also prominently display, both inside and outside gated complexes, posters or standees or AV media on preventive measures about Covid-19, common signs and symptoms of the disease, need for early reporting and sanitisation of premises, etc.

Associations must also spread information on stigma as well as prevent the spread of rumours and misinformation on its social media accounts.

Further, the advisory asks RWAs to ensure that residents monitor their health, and report any illness to state as well as district authorities.

The number of people in elevators are to be limited and residents are advised to avoid large gatherings such as parties or functions or prayer meetings. To ensure physical distancing, seating arrangements in common areas such as parks need to be altered, and specific markings are to be made to help manage queues.

The welfare associations can also set up Covid Care Facilities so long as they are in accordance with central government guidelines. They must also keep stock of ‘Over The Counter’ drugs like paracetamol and ORS and maintain linkages with nearest health facilities in case of health emergencies.

Guidelines for positive cases, containment zones

The health ministry advisory listed guidelines for RWAS in containment zones to follow in case a resident falls sick with Covid-19.

RWAs are expected to encourage residents to self report as well as facilitate testing and isolation of patients and their contacts. Risk assessment is to be made by district health authorities in order to quarantine contacts, and RWAs are advised to counsel families to help them avoid stigma. Associations need to take special care of residents who don’t have anyone to take care of them.

If the residential complex falls within a containment zone, RWAs are to ensure house-to-house survey, identify patients with comorbities, conduct daily surveillance of all houses, ensure patients are shifted to Covid treatment facilities, and see that all residents stay at home. It must also deploy volunteers for delivering essential services.

Also read: RWAs acting like the first line of defence against coronavirus. They are Modi’s soldiers


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