The ministry guidelines express doubt about whether the detailed protective measures are possible to maintain in factories
- Any person with a body temperature of more than 99 degrees Fahrenheit will not be allowed on public transportation.
- Air flights will make seating arrangements that leave some seats empty. Airplanes will have mini-quarantine facilities onboard.
- Customers in shopping malls will have to go through thermal scanners and maintain one meter of distance while paying bills.
- Banks will have thermal scanners installed and they will make sure that the customers maintain one meter of distance.
The health ministry has drawn up a guideline to reopen industries, businesses, educational institutions, public transportation, and passenger flight services amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
The guidelines formulated for the institutions, establishments and professions aim at Covid-19 prevention and controlling the virus' spread.
After more than 40 days of a countrywide shutdown, the government has recently taken measures to restart the economy by gradually reopening industries and business. The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare says the guideline has been prepared so that people can safely return to their normal activities.
According to the guidelines, a person with a body temperature of more than 99 degrees Fahrenheit will not be allowed on public transportation. Air flights will make seating arrangements that leave some seats empty.
The guidelines say customers in shopping malls will have to go through thermal scanners and maintain one meter of distance while paying bills. Banks will have thermal scanners installed and they will make sure that the customers maintain one meter of distance.
Salons will wash their towels and aprons after every time they serve a customer. Chairs at salons will have to be set up with 1.5 meters of distance between them and the barbers will have to change their gloves before each new customer.
The guidelines mandate aprons for garment, hosiery, textile and tannery workers at the production units. The workers will also have to get their heads and shoes covered and will leave the covers at the factory after finishing their shifts. The workers will not be allowed to dine together.
The guidelines express doubt over social distancing inside the factories. It said, "Maintaining social distancing at factories is nearly impossible. However, it must be maintained to ensure safety."
The guidelines signed by health directorate Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad say eight public health experts are working with the government on policy making.
The health directorate said it has consulted with the experts on novel coronavirus infection projection, ways to gradually reopen the factories and precautionary measures. The health directorate has found the guidelines befitting after analysing the models adopted by China and other countries while resuming their economic activities.
Health directorate Director General Dr Abul Kalam Azad wrote that the guidelines will have to be followed at the governmental, non-governmental and individual level until the pandemic ends. However, the government announced strict, long and short-term orders must be followed whatever the guidelines say.
The guidelines advise the employees of industrial establishments and service sectors to use face masks, spray disinfectant solutions, keep toilets clean – plus disinfect lift buttons, stair handles, doorknobs, vehicle seats, and floors continuously.
Apart from this, the guide has instructions for specific sectors, too, as it says office and residence windows should be opened at least thrice a day – for 20-30 minutes each time – so that fresh air ventilates the rooms.
For shopping malls, it said that adequate face masks and disinfectants must be stocked before the malls are reopened. Those shopping centers also must have crisis plans.
There must be disposal areas. The centers must monitor the employees' health regularly.
There will be a thermal scanners at mall entrances, and only customers with normal body temperatures will be allowed in. Thermal scanners will have to be set up at restaurants and banks – social distancing must be ensured there during transactions and payments.
Everyone from officials to cleaning staff must have face masks and they must put them on before leaving their residences to go to factories. The masks must be changed after a maximum of three days' use.
Walkways must be sprayed with chlorhexidine solution, not with bleaching powder or similar solutions. Everyone must wash their hands before entering the factories.
Non-contact thermometers will check the temperatures of workers at the entrances of the factories. Anyone with a higher-than-normal body temperature will not be allowed at the production lines.
Workers with flu, fever, sore throat, cough or runny nose symptoms will not be allowed into factories. They will be sent back to home, with medicine, and remain under observation for at least three days.
If the symptoms do not disappear after three days, they will have to be transferred for a Covid-19 test. Such cases will stay in isolation facilities adjacent to the factories as their homes might not have enough room for self-quarantine.
A factory must have a separate entrance and exit.
Before resuming construction, sites must be disinfected. Workers must have a thermal checkup before and after their shift.
There must be arrangements for point-to-point buses or separate vehicles for workers. Workers returned from Covid-19 clusters or high-risk areas must be tracked and put under continuous monitoring.
The entire area must be disinfected if any confirmed case is detected.
Buses, trains and airplanes
The rail stations must have disinfectants and proper waste disposal systems. The entrances will need to have thermal scanners.
If any passenger is found with a higher-that-normal body temperature, he or she will be placed under temporary quarantine. Each train will have a separate carriage so that passengers with novel coronavirus symptoms can temporarily be placed there.
Bus and launch terminals will have precautionary measures similar to the railway station.
Buses will have to be disinfected before each trip. The passengers will enter and exit the buses maintaining one meter of distancing.
Buses will keep some seats empty during the trips. Launches will also have similar arrangements.
Airplanes will have mini-quarantine facilities onboard. Planes will keep some seats empty too. Upon detecting Covid-19 cases or suspected Covid-19 cases, professionals will disinfect the entire terminal.
The terminal building will have a quarantine facility. Each passenger will have to go through a temperature checkup before flying, and upon landing.
Airplanes from coronavirus-hit countries will be parked at a designated space at the airport. The guidelines also recommend a quarantine waiting area, easing check-in, using a non-contact boarding system, and introducing special passage at airports.