COVID-19: Punjab Govt issues advisory for Sewa Kendras to maintain hygiene & sanitization

• Flexible timings of reporting & leaving office suggested for staff

• Maintain complete and proper record of all employees and visiting citizens

 Chandigarh, May 6:

 Punjab Government has issued an advisory on maintaining hygiene and sanitization in Sewa Kendras to ensure the safety of its staff and citizens from COVID-19 pandemic.

 An official spokesperson of the state government said that as the Novel Coronavirus (COVID -19) is a systemic disease, transmitted in most instances through respiratory droplets, direct contact with cases and also through contaminated surfaces/objects and it gets easily inactivated by chemical disinfectants. Thus, correct and timely information about the virus is the key to control the pandemic. The state government has planned a phased approach to resume the citizen-centric services provided by the Sewa Kendras. However, only the Sewa Kendras permitted by the Government to resume services shall start its functions as per the plan fixed by the Government.

 “A comprehensive plan regarding staff should be drawn up which shall include the sitting arrangement of the Staff in a manner that a minimum distance of one metre is maintained amongst them at all times”, he said, while adding that the possibility of use of alternate counters for the staff may be explored. A flexible timings of reporting and leaving the office, flexible timings of lunch and tea breaks in between with an objective to avoid crowding the office premises shall be planned.

 He further said that the staff shall preferably wash hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and a two-hourly hand wash protocol should be followed. The staff handling documents or cash transaction is advised to sanitise/wash their hands with soap and water after the transactions.The staff should mandatorily hand wash/sanitise before touching the refreshments during tea-break/lunch-break etc. The meals and utensils should not be shared amongst the staff.

 If any staff detected with high fever in the Sewa Kendra premises does not mean that he/she is suffering from COVID-19, the spokesperson said, it is advised to get such staff suffering from high fever medically examined by temporarily isolating him/her from the rest of the office. The staff should be encouraged to stay at home in case of any fever or other symptoms related to the COVID-19.

 In case a co-staff/colleague is diagnosed as COVID-19 with whom one had a contact during office, there is no need to panic. One should report to the Helpline No. 104/State Control Room No 01722920074/ 08872090029, detailing the exact nature of exposure so as to assist the medical facility to undertake further necessary actions.The employer, in case a staff is diagnosed as corona positive,     shall immediately inform on       the aforesaid helpline numbers along with all the facts about the staff and the contacts he/she might have during the attendance in the office, he added.

 The spokesperson said that a complete and proper record of all employees attending the office and the citizens, who have visited the Sewa Kendra on any particular day should be maintained. The staff shall be advised not to roam unnecessarily in the Sewa Kendra or its periphery/outside and to work from their allotted space only. Use of intercoms/electronic media for interpersonal communication of the staff be encouraged. Staff should be advised to wear cloth masks and it should be washed with soap and water daily after use.

 To sensitize the staff and citizens, the spokesperson said, posters displaying messages of social distancing, no handshaking, hand hygiene, wearing of masks & gloves, washing of hands with soap and water and use of sanitizers should be put up at the entrance of the Sewa Kendra. Installation of thermal scanners at the entry gate of the Sewa Kendras is advisable to screen the staff suffering from high fever (Normal human body temperature is 97.7 to 99.5-degree Fahrenheit)

 For general public, lines/squares/circles should be drawn at a distance of six feet in front of the service area of the Sewa Kendra, he informed, adding that similar lines/squares/circles should be drawn in front of all counters. The first line/square/circle should be at 2 feet from the counter to ensure appropriate distance between counter and citizen.

 The citizens waiting for their turns should be advised to stand at these lines/circles to ensure an appropriate social distancing between two citizens.

 He said, separate queues should be designated for senior citizens visiting the Sewa Kendra, adding that senior citizens are also advised to avoid visiting any public places, including Sewa Kendra and may preferably ask their relatives/caretaker to do the needful. No associates of applicants should be allowed inside Sewa Kendras except in case of differently able citizens, elderly citizens & minor children.

 Only citizens with valid appointments to be allowed inside Sewa Kendras. The process of fixing the appointment shall be duly publicized as well as displayed at the entrance gate of the Sewa Kendra. Citizens should be encouraged to make digital payment for the service availed. Manual delivery of the documents over the counter should be discouraged. Delivery of certificates should, preferably, be done only through Speed Post, the advisory stipulates.

 The staff and citizens should be encouraged to download “COVA APP” developed by the Government of Punjab for the correct, timely and authentic information.

 It has been advised that indoor areas including office spaces, waiting areas, staff seating area etc. should be cleaned every evening after office hours or early in the morning before the Sewa Kendra is 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 office rooms, waiting areas, staff seating area etc. should be mopped with a disinfectant with 1% sodium hypochlorite or equivalent disinfectants available in the market. High contact surfaces such as 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 or equivalent disinfect solution. For metallic surfaces like door handles, security locks, keys etc., 70% alcohol based disinfectant can be used to wipe down surfaces. Protective gear used during sanitation process should be discarded as per safety protocol. Sanitary workers must use separate set of cleaning equipment for toilets (mops, nylon scrubber) and separate set for sink and commode.

 The spokesperson said that it has also been advised to prefer natural ventilation at workplace and if Air Conditioners/Coolers have to be used then need to strictly follow the detailed guidelines issued in this regard.

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