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COVID-19: Health Ministry issues guidelines for using PPE
New Delhi, March 25 - The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday issued guidelines for using personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The guidelines are based on the risk profile of the healthcare workers in different settings.
The guidelines have been issued for rational use of PPE material for healthcare workers and others working in points of entries (POEs), quarantine centres, hospital, laboratory and primary healthcare and community settings.
The guideline uses setting approach to guide on the type of personal protective equipment to be used in different settings.
The guidelines stated that PPEs are protective gears designed to safeguard the health of workers by minimizing the exposure to a biological agent. These PPEs consist of goggles, face-shield, mask, gloves, coverall or gowns (with or without aprons), head cover and shoe cover.
According to the guidelines, the health officials attending severely ill patients are at the highest risk of contracting the virus, therefore, they need full complement of the PPE, while on the other hand, administrative staff has been considered as "no risk" profile and hence no need of PPE for this category.
However, the Health Ministry has suggested that they should not venture into areas where suspect COVID-19 cases are being managed.
Health Desk that provides information to travellers was categorised as "low risk" and needed triple layer medical mask and gloves. A triple layer medical mask is a disposable mask, fluid-resistant, provide protection to the wearer from droplets of infectious material emitted during coughing,sneezing and talking. The Ministry also advised to maintain a minimum distance of one meter.
Sanitary staff has been categorised at "moderate risk" of getting infected as they do cleaning frequently, touch surfaces or floor and also clean linen. Therefore they need to wear N-95 mask, which is a respiratory protective device with high filtration efficiency to airborne particles. To provide the requisite air seal to the wearer, such masks are designed to achieve a very close facial fit.
Doctors and nurses conducting interview and clinical examination of the individual are also considered of being at "moderate risk". Besides this, official or individual managing SARI patient while transporting is also at high risk of contracting the virus, therefore, needed complete set of PPE.
Similarly at the laboratory, officials collecting or transporting samples, have been considered at high risk. Persons being quarantined, the Ministry stated, were at low risk therefore only triple layer mask would do good for them.
According to the health ministry persons being quarantined at home was at Low Risk, a designated family member also has been considered at low risk and needed gloves who may commonly touch surfaces or handling or soiled linen While cleaning.
Other family members did not require any PPE material and they have been considered at no risk, said the Health Ministry.
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