Aerosols particles containing COVID-19 virus can travel up to 10 metres, the Centre said on Thursday while issuing new “easy to follow” guidelines to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
The advisory names mask, ventilation, social distancing and sanitation the four sure shot ways to win the battle against the virus.
While asking citizens to mask up and maintain physical distancing, the guidelines titled ‘Stop the Transmission, Crush the Pandemic’ stresses the importance of well-ventilated spaces to keep the virus from spreading.
“Just as smells can be diluted by ventilation, the dangerous concentration of the virus can be reduced by ensuring that outdoor air flows in,” said the statement issued by K Vijay Raghavan, the principal scientific advisor to the government.
Explaining how smaller aerosol particles of saliva and nasal discharge in the form of droplets can be suspended in air and carried up to 10 metres, the statement says only proper ventilation can thwart them from being inhaled by another person.
“An infected person without symptoms also transmits the virus,” the guidelines said.
The advisory also calls for regular cleaning of contact points such as door knobs, light switches, tables, chairs and the floor with disinfectants and phenyl.
The advisory says that the placement of the fan is important as it should not be kept where it will divert infected air to someone else. Advising citizens to keep the exhaust fan on when doors and windows are closed, it says a pedestal fan can also be turned into an exhaust fan by turning its face outdoors and creating an ideal airflow to protect indoor spaces.
At workplaces, the guidelines suggest keeping doors and windows wide open even though the air conditioners are running while also installing exhaust fans.
Most importantly, the guidelines call for the usage of a double layer mask or an N95 to ensure maximum protection.
“Ideally 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),” the advisory said.
The new guidelines ask people entering rural or semi-urban areas to take the Rapid Antigen Test, which in turn must be conducted by trained ASHA, Anganwadi or health workers.
“These health workers must be given a certified N95 mask even if they are vaccinated. ASHA/Anganwadi/Health workers to also be provided oximetres to monitor infected persons,” it said,
The virus has infected almost 2.57 crore people in country while claiming 2.87 lakh lives since its outbreak last year.