About implementation of COVID-19 infection prevention measures

7 April 2020

Currently, the world is witnessing a worsening of the epidemiological situation of infection with COVID-19 (coronavirus infection).

In order to minimize the risk of the occurrence and spread of COVID-19 infection in collectives, the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Belarus recommends the following measures to heads of enterprises, institutions, organizations:

1. Admission to work of persons arriving from foreign countries should be carried out after the end of the period of self-isolation.

On the territory of the Republic of Belarus, all persons arriving from foreign countries are subject to self-isolation within 14 days from the moment of arrival.

2. If it is possible, to organize a remote mode of work, without visiting the institution.

This will reduce the risk of infection with respiratory viruses, for example, when using public transport on the way to work, and reduce the risk of spreading respiratory viruses from a person if he or she is infected and is in a public place.

3. People with signs of a respiratory infection  (runny nose, sneezing, coughing, fever, etc.) should not be allowed to work.

In the presence of symptoms of a respiratory infection, a person should stay at home, call a doctor at home, reduce contact with others, follow the doctor's recommendations.

4. Organize a distance of 1–1.5 meters between employees' workplaces, also recommend visitors to keep a distance of at least 1–1.5 meters from each other.

5. To postpone the holding of events involving the mass participation of citizens (exhibitions, seminars, conferences, etc.) until the epidemiological situation in the world stabilizes.

6. Organize meetings and staff conferences using video calling; if it is impossible to use video communication, provide a distance between employees of at least 1–1.5 meters.

7. Cancel foreign business trips of employees until stabilization of the epidemiological situation in the world.

If it is not possible to cancel business trips to foreign countries, it is recommended to avoid sending those employees on business trips who may be at higher risk of infection and the development of complications (elderly people, employees with chronic heart and respiratory diseases, diabetes mellitus, etc.). It is advisable to provide your employees with an antiseptic (alcohol-based) hand mean in individual packaging up to 100 ml in volume, with medical masks (respirators) before a business trip.

8. Ensure the ability to observe hand hygiene by employees and visitors – washing hands using soap and/or hand antiseptics (preferably alcohol-based). If possible, place dispensers with an antiseptic in all prominent places, in the workplace. It is necessary to organize control of its regular refilling.

Also, an effective way to timely clean your hands in any environment is to use an antiseptic for your hands in individual packaging or disinfectant wipes.

Clean hands are the guarantee that a person will not spread viruses by infecting himself when he touches his mouth and nose, and infecting those who around him through surfaces.

Hands should be washed as often as possible, especially after using public transport, after any visit to the street and public places, before and after eating.

It is necessary to wash hands thoroughly and for at least 20 seconds, not forgetting about the area between the fingers, around the nails, cuticles and thumb.

9. Provide the opportunity for employees to use medical face masks (application)

10. To organize regular wet cleaning of premises using household detergents and/or disinfectants, with an emphasis on the treatment of all surfaces.

When cleaning premises, it is necessary to carefully treat door handles, handrails, tables, chairs, other furniture, sanitary equipment, computer keyboards and mice and other gadgets, telephones, control panels, panels of office equipment for general use and other objects that people touch.

It is necessary to pay attention to the processing of mobile communication devices. Clean the phone by wiping it with a microfiber cloth moistened with soap and water, especially the part that comes in contact with the face. There are also recommendations for treating the surface of the phone with alcohol-based disinfectants, taking precautions regarding damage to the phone. The gadget case must be removed and processed separately, and it is better to refuse to use the case. The phone must be processed after each visit to public places, transport and after the end of the working day.

Keeping surfaces clean is one of the simplest but most effective measures!

11. Organize regular and as frequent as possible airing of rooms and humidification of air by any available means. If possible, ensure that air disinfection is carried out in accordance with the recommendations of the equipment manufacturer.

12. When organizing meals for employees, it is advisable to give preference to the use of individual disposable tableware, which can be discarded after eating.

When using reusable dishes, the best result of cleaning them is washing in dishwashers using disinfectants.

13. Place in a prominent place information materials (leaflets, posters) explaining the rules for the prevention of respiratory infections, the rules of «respiratory etiquette» and hand washing.

We recommend to provide preventive measures even if no cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported in the locality, as these measures are effective in preventing the infection and spread of any respiratory viruses that are active in the current period of the year.

The organization of the above measures will require certain material and time costs, but the timely introduction of preventive measures will help reduce the number of lost working days due to illness, and will prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, if they get into the labor collective.

We propose to bring this information to the attention of all interested.

 

How to use disposable and reusable masks.

The main function of the mask is to barrier the retention of moisture drops that form when coughing and sneezing, and in which microorganisms (viruses, bacteria, etc.) can be suspended.

The correct use of masks can in some extent limit the spread of microorganisms.

The use of masks is effective only in combination with other methods of prevention (minimizing contacts, hand hygiene, disinfection of objects).

The mask MUST be used:

The mask MAY be used:

By an ill person who has symptoms of a respiratory illness (cough, sneezing, runny nose, etc.)

By healthy people when they are in places where it is likely to come in contact with a sick person with respiratory symptoms

By a healthcare worker in providing care for patient

By a worker (person) in caring for a sick person with respiratory illness

Algorithm for using a disposable mask.

  1. Treat hands with an alcohol-based mean or wash with soap.
  2. Holding the mask by the ties or elastic bands, bring it close to the face with the white side inward and fix it with the ties (elastic bands) in the position when the lower part of the face is completely covered - both the mouth and nose.
  3. At the end, give the desired shape to a flexible strip (nose clip), providing a snug fit mask to the face.
  4. Remove the product by holding the ties (elastic band) at the back, without touching the front of the mask.
  5. Place the removed mask in a bag, seal it tightly, throw it into the waste container (bin).
  6. Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based mean.
  7. If necessary, put on a new mask following steps 1-3.

Algorithm for using a reusable mask.

  1. Treat hands with an alcohol-based mean or wash with soap.
  2. Holding the mask by the ties or elastic bands, bring it close to the face and fix with ties (elastic bands) in a position when the lower part of the face is completely covered - both the mouth and nose.
  3. Check that the mask fits snugly on the face.
  4. Remove the product while holding the ties (elastic band) at the back, without touching the front of the mask.
  5. Place the removed mask in a bag, seal it tightly, store until washing.
  6. * At home, the mask must be washed using soap (detergent), separately from other things. After washing, the mask can be treated with steam using an iron with the function of supplying steam or a steam generator. Then iron it out with a hot iron (no steam) to remove moisture. The mask should be completely dry!
  7. Wash hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based mean.
  8. If necessary, put on a clean mask according to item 6, following steps 1-3.

* in organizations, incl. «closed type» organizations, institutions, offices, etc. organization of centralized washing of reusable masks is possible

General rules for disposable and reusable masks.

Rule 1. Use the mask for no more than two hours.

Rule 2. Replace the mask immediately if it gets wet (moistured), even if less than two hours have passed since use.

Rule 3. Do not touch the fixed mask with your hands.

Rule 4. Wash hands thoroughly with soap or water and use an alcohol-based mean after touching the mask used or being used.

 

Deputy Minister

Head state sanitary doctor

of Republic of Belarus N. Žukava