New Delhi: The Union Health Ministry has released an advisory for containment of COVID-19 in slums saying unauthorized colonies and Jhuggi-Jhopri (JJ)clusters pose a serious problem as a huge population resides in such places.
For communities, inadequate shelter and overcrowding are risk factors in the transmission of diseases with epidemic potential such as COVID-19, the National Centre for Disease Control, which falls under the health ministry, said.
In case any positive case is detected in the locality, 'containment plan' will be put in place for which local representatives and ward members are required to cooperate with the health authorities.
According to the advisory the local representatives/ward members and influencers in these areas can ensure certain Do's and Dont's to prevent the residents from COVID-19 infection which includes stopping all mass gatherings and cleaning common areas like toilets, water supply areas, surfaces, likely to be touched by residents using any available disinfectant.
The advisory urged elderly (more than 60 years of age) to stay indoors and any family member working as domestic help in neighbourhood should request exemption from service for a short period of two weeks so as to ensure that neither the employer nor employee acquires and spreads COVID-19.
If they are required to go to work, they should practice proper hand washing with soap and water at and after work.
Stating that toilets are closed spaces and potential source of infection to others, the advisory sought cleaning of toilets frequently, and preventing crowding around public amenities such as toilets, drinking water sources, ration shops.
People waiting in queue should maintain a distance of one metre and face away from each other and refrain from touching their eyes, nose and mouth, the advisory said
According to the advisory if residents of JJ clusters/slums have any contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, then they need to go for home quarantine for 14 days.
If they develop fever, cough, running nose, difficulty in breathing, they have to immediately inform the local representatives/ward members for further assistance with regard to testing and medical care which will be provided by health department free of cost at identified hospitals. Patient will be transported using ambulance services, it stated.
Details of all the persons who had close contact with the suspected case shall be shared with health officials concerned and have to be subjected to home quarantine for observation,the advisory stated.
The death toll due to the novel coronavirus rose to 149 and the number of cases climbed to 5, 274 in the country on Wednesday, registering an increase of 485 cases in the last 24 hours, according to the Union Health Ministry.
However, a tally of figures reported by various states as on Wednesday evening showed at least 5521 cases and 172 deaths while 500 were discharged.
There has been a lag in the Union Health Ministry figures, compared to the number of cases announced by different states, which officials attribute to procedural delays in assigning the cases to individual states.