PESHAWAR: The provincial relief, rehabilitation and settlement department has issued guidelines for keeping suspected coronavirus cases in quarantine to prevent outbreak.
According to a document of the department, the guidelines for measures at both individual and community levels require administrative actions by the relevant authorities in the province.
The guidelines have divided the quarantine into four categories including individual (home), groups of travelers, community and occupational hazard, which is applicable to healthcare workers or other essential personnel who have, or may likely to as part of their duties, come in contact with such people.
According to guidelines, for those suspected cases placed in quarantine at home should be properly identified along with telephone number, age, medical history, contacts and address along GPS coordinate, rough sketch of residence, point of entry and access to outside and where it leads.
An invasive monitoring mechanism should be put in place to ensure round-the-clock quarantine.
Dept suggests administrative actions by authorities across province
The document said home should have functioning telephone, running water, bathroom with commode and sink. Besides, it should also have separate bedroom for quarantined person for sleeping and eating
For group of travelers, the document said that a facility should be designated, which is preferably not in a congested area and can accommodate at least 200 people and support staff.
The document said the facility should also have extra care for old age people, women and co-morbid persons.
It said the facility staff should have separate cooking palace, laundry and accommodation and there should be round the clock monitoring mechanism to ensure quarantine.
It said the facility should have multiple rooms for housing suspects which should preferably, rooms with individual ventilation systems (e.g. room or window fan coil units that do not re-circulate to other parts of the building) and alternatively, facility with a non-re-circulating ventilation system that permits redirection of the air flow from corridors and staff areas into patient rooms.
It said the third category of quarantine applies to healthcare workers or other essential personnel who have, or may likely to as part of their duties, come in contact with person under investigation for COVID-19 or confirmed cases but are needed to continue to work as occupational hazard. It said that such individuals should consider themselves quarantined either at home, wherever they reside, or at designated facilities during off-hours.
Regarding community quarantine, the document said it should have control points on point of entry. It said that to limit socializing, closure of all institutions where people gather including educational institutions, non-essential offices, courts, religious places, shopping centers etc. Transport (buses and railways) is to be limited.
It also provides for cancellation of all social events including marriage receptions, cultural and sports events and any other events where people may gather.
The document also provided for temperature checking on all movements, where randomly possible while provision of essential items to remain open during particular hours, but to be strictly regulated to ensure everyone keeps out of touch-contact, wears gloves while interacting and picking up articles (seller-buyer), and exchanging money or any other article.
It also provided for travel permits for health staff, essential personnel and personnel taking food, essential items and medical equipment, medicines across points of entry.
The document said a committee headed by the home secretary should coordinate the measures outlined in the guidelines and it should also plan for ensuring transport of essential items including food, medicine to all districts in case there is a quarantine implemented on larger areas.
Published in Dawn, March 10th, 2020