COVID guidelines for housing societies: 20 things housing societies must know to fight Coronavirus


The COVID-19 or Coronavirus outbreak has brought the world to a near-halt situation. As of December 7, 2021, there have been over 20 confirmed cases of the new variant of the coronavirus, Omicron in India. We discuss rights, responsibilities, powers, dos and don’ts for RWAs and housing society residents.

The country’s fight against COVID-19 received a boost, as the vaccination coverage crossed the 100-crore mark. According to the Union Health Ministry, 52,40,60,890 crore Coronavirus vaccine doses have been administered, as on August 9, 2021. It was in April, when a 150% jump in Corona cases was reported and prime minister Narendra Modi directed states to take stringent measures, to mitigate a ‘second peak’ of the pandemic. States were urged to increase their vaccination centres and reduce any kind of vaccine wastage. At present, Maharashtra and Kerala are among the worst-affected states in India.

Over 200 million people globally have been caught in the grip of the Coronavirus, while more than 5 million have lost their lives. World-over, schools have been closed for varying periods, as have gyms, swimming pools, cinema halls, parks and such other social areas, where people come together. In the case of India, after a complete lockdown announced in March through May 2020, the lockdowns were lifted progressively, in a bid to gradually revive the economy. Offices also tried experimenting with the work-from-home method and housing societies have seen people staying indoors.

Amid the fear of a third wave, newer COVID strains like the Omicron variant are emerging, as health experts warn that the virus will keep mutating. In India, there have been over 20 confirmed cases of the Omicron variant of Coronavirus, as of December 7, 2021. Owing to the rising number of cases in the country, several states have stepped up vaccinations, surveillance, and containment measures.

See also: Should we still wipe down groceries 2022 to safeguard from coronavirus

Pandemics, such as the Coronavirus, call for preparedness and not panic. While offices experiment with the work-from-home model or the hybrid model, most of our readers may be safe at home. At such a juncture, housing societies have an important role to play. Housing societies and apartment complexes are bringing in rules to ensure that every family is safe. Take for example, Prestige St Johnswood in Bengaluru. As per its rules, this society has asked every resident to self-declare if he/she suspects or is tested positive for COVID-19. Not just government and medical officials, housing societies too are insisting that strict measures should be followed. Here is a guide to help you navigate these uncertain times.

 

1. Rules to follow if you are suspecting a coronavirus infection

Housing.com reached out to Dr Gaurav Singh, Senior Medical Officer, Central Hospital, Central Coalfields Ltd and Ex-Resident, AIIMS Bhubaneshwar, to help our readers with medical solutions. “Those who do not have the symptoms but were exposed to an infected person should go in for quarantine. This is different from self-isolation. The latter is for those who are already sick. You isolate yourself so that you do not pass on the infection to anyone else. It is recommended for a period of 14 days when a sick person should refrain from going outside the house or using public transport. If you need medicines, get them delivered to your home and don’t run unnecessary errands.” The self-isolation period can stretch depending on how long the person is showing the symptoms.  

 

2. Rules to be followed by family members of a person infected by Coronavirus

 “Minimum interaction is the key but it is not totally possible especially if you are living as a family,” says Dr Ratneshwar Prasad Singh, Communicable Diseases Officer at Sadar Hospital, Chhapra. He has the following advice for such families:

  • Only one family member should help the infected person if the latter needs help.
  • Do not handle the used-clothes of such a patient directly with your hands. Do not wash these in the washing machine along with clothes of other family members.
  • Use a sanitiser before and after meeting the infected person. Change your clothes if they have touched you by mistake.
  • In case a family member is tested positive for COVID-19, it is important that all other family members also quarantine themselves for a period of 14 days even though there may not be any symptoms. If there are symptoms, immediately get yourself tested too.
  • All items and surfaces touched by the infected person should be disinfected. This includes table, chairs, shelves, toilets, clothes, utensils, etc.
  • Separate personal care items like soaps, shampoo, towels. Do not use the same bathrooms, if possible.
  • Self-declare the condition to your housing society or neighbours so that you do not have any visitors during such a period.

Additionally, if possible an isolation room in your house should also be equipped with gloves, hair cover, masks, gowns, hand-rubs, liquid soap, single-use towels, disinfectants and surface cleansers, large disposable bags with instructions on it to be handled with precaution. In case of an emergency, call on the coronavirus helpline number in your state for the way forward.

See also: Oxygen concentrators: All you need to know about oxygen machine for covid patients

The right way to wash the clothes of an infected family member

As mentioned above, you must wash and dry the clothes and linen of an infected family member, separately. The WHO advisory says that one must use heavy-duty gloves before handling these clothes. Ensure that such clothes do not brush against your body or clothing and that these are bundled up in a separate leak-proof bag or bucket, if you intend to clean them at a later stage.

In case of any bio-medical waste or vomit, dispose of the waste, before putting the clothes for wash. Machine wash at 60 to 90 degrees Celsius is recommended by the WHO. Hot water is preferable. Note that you should use a stick to stir and soak the clothes in hot water and avoid any kind of splashing.

Soaking dirty linen in 0.05% chlorine for half an hour is advisable. After washing, make sure you have adequately cleaned yourself and washed your hands well.

 

10 things housing societies must know to fight Coronavirus

 

3. Rules for other residents in the housing society to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

 First of all, there is no need to panic. If you are maintaining a social distance, there are least chances of an infection,” says Dr Gaurav. For housing society residents who are in the know of an infected person or a suspected case near them, the following steps should be taken:

  • Do not visit or come in contact with anyone who has a recent history of having travelled back from a corona-affected region.
  • If you have, by chance, come into contact and show certain symptoms, quarantine yourself till you feel alright and the lab results are negative.
  • Avoid assemblies and congregation to maintain a safe distance from other people.
  • Depending upon your state authority, if COVID-19 cases are being reported from a particular colony, town, settlement, the district administration may even ask to seal the area, bar entry and exits, ban vehicular movement in the area, initiate passive and active surveillance, designate certain buildings for isolation. If you feel that this must be done, do not hesitate to inform the authorities.

 

4. Expectations from housing society residents to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

Dr Nileena Koshy, Additional Professor of Community Medicine at Government Medical College, Manjeri, Kerala, says “A stand-still is not possible but should be adhered to as much as possible.” While housing society residents continue to inhabit the neighbourhood, there are some tips you should follow to ensure that you are not traumatising the family in any way.

  • Do not ostracise an affected family. It is harassment and causes trauma to everyone in the family.
  • You can always help by giving provisions or any medical supply, to the family. Just leave it at their doorstep. Don’t enter the premises.
  • Quarantine is just physical isolation. Do keep in touch with the family by means of other mediums such as WhatsApp or phone calls.
  • Respect their need for privacy.

“In cultures where social-distancing is common, such as in Singapore, the coronavirus outbreak can be checked. It is not so easy in India where people like to meet and greet closely. Therefore, quarantine and self-isolation may be difficult but should not be ignored,” emphasises Koshy.

 

5. BMC guidelines for housing society

Given the tremendous increase in the number of cases across Maharashtra, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has issued a list of dos and don’ts for residents of COVID-affected housing complexes, to check the spread of the virus. Here is what you need to do:

Residents must inform about a positive case

Inform the facilities/society office security as soon as a positive case has been reported via WhatsApp or email.

COVID identification

A notice will be affixed on the door of the COVID-positive patient, indicating the start and end date of the quarantine, along with a cross (X) tape to indicate a flat which has a COVID-19 positive resident. Residents should retain this till the end of the quarantine period.

Outsiders not allowed

Residents must stop calling maids/outsiders. Sending children to play or using any common area, as soon as symptoms appear and COVID-19 is suspected/test planned, is also prohibited.

Strict quarantine

Residents from a COVID-19 affected flat (even if he/she has a negative report) are not allowed to use common areas like landing area on each floor, lifts, stilt or podium.

Use of common spaces

If residents want to move out of their COVID-19 affected flats within the complex/outside, the society office should be informed and a mail should be sent to the society’s email ID. The housing society will, in turn, need to keep the BMC informed. Any resident who does so without the written consent of the society, will be seen as violating the society and COVID-19 norms and will be reported to the competent authorities for necessary action.

Under quarantine, even if you move homes

Even if a COVID-19-positive inmate of a flat has moved to another flat, the original flat and its original residents will be considered to be under quarantine for seven days. The inmates of the original flat are prohibited from moving out for seven days. A test may be taken on the fifth/sixth day and a COVID-19 negative report needs to be furnished, for the said resident(s) to move out. This is mandatory according to the BMC rules and failure to do so will attract penal action from within the society and a report for violation of quarantine shall be made to the competent authorities.

Movement prohibited

Any resident listed as a member of the said flat shall be deemed to be under quarantine as per BMC norms. Inmates of the flat, which is declared to be under quarantine, are prohibited from moving into other residential flats within the complex, to prevent the possibility of spread, even if they have tested negative.

Exceptions

Only lab technicians/BMC officials will be allowed inside a flat. Security has to be informed in this case so that the floor can be sanitised. Only special emergency cases like hospital admission of self / other residents in the said flat will be allowed to leave the house. Security needs to be informed so that the floor can be sanitised.

Rules for domestic help

Residents are also not allowed to call maids or visitors during the quarantine period. Security has to be informed about the maid working there. Any special request has to be discussed with the society office bearers. The maid working in the said flat prior to the positive result will have to be compulsorily quarantined for a period of seven days. She will not be able to work in other households as well. He/she will be allowed after producing a negative COVID (RT-PCR) test at the gate.

Garbage disposal

A box will be kept outside the flat, and the residents have to place the garbage (both dry and wet separately) only in these boxes. This is to identify the boxes, as BMC collects these separately. Residents are requested to seal the bags and put a red mark (tape/sketch pen/sticker) for identification. Ensure that garbage is kept only prior to the collection time and not overnight.

Couriers/parcels

Security will deliver couriers/boxes to the flat every day. Please note that this service will be provided only twice a day to limit exposure of the security and also their limited bandwidth. Residents are requested to plan meals/couriers accordingly and have two fixed slots between which these will be delivered to the flat.

Special requests

Security will be able to accommodate only special requests like delivery of medicines as an exception to the above. This has to be discussed with society office bearers before being implemented.

 

6. Tips to use common utilities to help prevent spread of Coronavirus

Delhi’s Mayur Vihar I, Pocket 1, Resident Welfare Association’s vice-president Man Mohan Singh says that their staff is monitoring the use of common areas and facilities in the locality. It is advisable that:

  • Playgrounds with swings and slides should be closed temporarily so that children who are at home these days are not tempted to use these.
  • Indoor sports areas, gyms, common yoga or meditation rooms should not be frequented now.
  • Avoid going to clubhouses even if it is within your society.
  • Do not use common taps, public washrooms and toilets as much as possible.
  • If your apartment/building is provided with lift, restrict the use. If that is not possible, ensure that you are using a handrub or a sanitiser immediately after.
  • Ensure that reception areas or lounges within such societies should be used only if necessary. Ensure that the housekeeping staff are in proper gear to clean such areas.
  • Medicial and other waste from an infected person should not be dumped in open dumping grounds either. Alert sanitation workers and secure the waste in multiple bags so that the workers do not come in contact with these. Unfortunately, while some societies insist on segregating bio-degradable, non-degradable and medical waste, some others do not. This prevents thorough treating of infectious waste.
  • Be careful while using or handling milk bags, elevator buttons, door knobs, door bells, newspapers, car doors, counters at shops, couriers, shared cabs, public transport, shoes, garden seats, grocery items, currency notes, ATMs, etc. It has been estimated that coronavirus can live on certain surfaces up to three days and therefore, it is better not to take risks.

 

7. A code of conduct to be practised in society premises to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus

  • Do not assemble in large groups, postpone any celebration your housing society might have planned.
  • Ensure that kids are taught about hygiene. Give them alternative play options at home or engage them in creative and entertaining ways.
  • Make hand-washes, masks, easily available for visitors and household helps.
  • Ask your local body to fumigate and disinfect your premises. Make sure that workers carrying out this task are well-protected and in proper gear.
  • To make more residents and visitors aware, you could also try putting banners and pamphlets sharing dos and don’ts during the outbreak of such a pandemic.
  • Residents must be transparent about their health condition. If there is a suspected/sure case of coronavirus, make sure that the person is quarantined and outsiders (maids, drivers, delivery people, visitors) maintain a safe distance.
  • To each his own – carry your own plate, glass, spoons, bottles whenever necessary. This should be communicated to housekeeping and maintainance staff at your housing society. If they have been in the habit of sharing such vessels, this may not be the right time to continue doing so.
  • Be kind to your neighbours. Transparency should be expected not just from others. If you suspect that you may be down with coronavirus, quarantine yourself and stay isolated for two weeks. You could also alert others in the society to avoid visiting you.

 

8. Some general suggestions to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus

a) Avoid over interaction: You may want to restrict yourself from visiting others at this point of time as not just you but other families too may want to take a social-break. Authorities have pointed out that social distancing is the need of the hour and it is in everyone’s interest that families in your housing/apartment complex stick to this public health advisory for now. b) Keep the elderly at home safe: If you have an elderly at home who was used to morning and evening walks, create alternatives for them at home to exercise so that their contact with outsiders is lesser. c) Educate the underprivileged: Domestic helps, security guards, your grocery vendor, newspaper vendor, delivery boys, etc., must be educated about the importance of personal hygiene. Usually, in large apartment complexes, one part-time domestic help may be working in three to four households. In such cases, even if you have ensured personal hygience, there is a high chance that your domestic help may contract the disease from elsewhere if the other family hasn’t been as careful as you.

Use Aarogya Setu to fight COVID-19 

The authorities have leveraged technology to fight the pandemic through the Aarogya Setu app. Going forward, the government insists that this app will be made mandatory for use and as more and more people use it, its accuracy and effectiveness will increase. As of May 22, 10.96 crore Indians are using the Aarogya Setu app. The app gives daily updates on COVID-19 status in cities, as well as alerts you about your health situation post a self-assessment that you can do through the app.

On contact tracing of an infected person, the app gets the information and without revealing the identity of the infected person, the government of India may contact persons that may have come in touch with the infected. This is only for administrative intervention so that identifying hotspots and possible containment zones and red zones is easier. All information is kept secure and confidential. The app may also help you secure an e-pass. Housing societies must encourage the use of this app by all residents and domestic helps, maintenance staff and everyone around you. 

See also: All about the Aarogya Setu app in India’s fight against the Coronavirus

 

9. RWAs can impose measures, cannot stigmatise residents, to help prevent the spread of Coronavirus

Delhi’s Mayur Vihar I, Pocket 1, Resident Welfare Association’s vice-president Man Mohan Singh says that the RWA body is taking necessary steps to ensure that the risk is minimised. For example, security guards, maintenance staff and workers on the pay-roll of the association have been educated about hygiene. “We are not allowing outsiders in these premises for now. All the staff is our own and we are also urging residents to use the facilities that are provided within the society. There are many who hire private sanitation workers. As a result, there are too many outsiders coming in. This is a potential risk. We have urged residents to use the services of East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). EDMC vans for garbage collection frequent all lanes every day.” What if an infected person or their family refuses to follow the quarantine rules? ”Fortunately, we have not had to tackle this situation yet but we can take extreme steps like disconnecting services to the particular house, if need be. Such families can be a potential health risk for others,” Singh says. Aditya Pratap, advocate, Bombay High Court, differs. He says that individuals should adhere to public health guidelines but the freedom to restrict people’s movement is only with the statutory authorities. This is a pandemic and it requires urgent measures but RWAs should exercise power in conjunction with the law. They can definitely intimate the police and the health authorities but on their own, RWAs cannot take any forceful action against individuals/families. They can impose measures but not stigmatise.”

 

10. How can the law help you enforce the prevention of COVID-19 guidelines?

 Advocate Pratap gives the following advice:

  • If you suspect that someone in your housing society may be a COVID-19 positive case, you can report it to the police or health officials. If it doesn’t turn out to be correct, it will not be taken an offence on your side since it was in true faith that you had decided to do so. However, make sure that you convey that your action is based on a suspicion. Let authorities take the next step.
  • Anyone publishing the identity and details of a suspected case or a confirmed case with malicious intent will be regarded as violating the privacy of the person and is liable for a defamation case. Only statutory authorities have the right to publish such details. Section 72 of the Information Technology Act, 2000 states that breach of privacy and confidentiality can amount to up to two years of imprisonment or a penalty of Rs 1 lakh or both. Therefore, if you have access to any electronic content, register, record, document, information, etc., and leak it without the consent of the concerned person, it is an offence.

 

11. The Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

Provisions of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 has been brought in to combat COVID-19 across many states. The provision helps authorities to put in place emergency steps to minimise the risk and spread of coronavirus in this case. Note that apart from such steps, the Act also empowers authorities to take action in the following cases:

  1. Any person disobeying regulations or orders issued under this act shall be punished under Section 188 of the Indian Penal Code. Know of someone like this? Approach the authorities.
  2. No legal proceedings shall lie against any person for any action that has been done under the provisions of this Act. However, ensure that you are not misusing this privilege.

The Disaster Management Act, 2005 (to bring into action immediate steps to check the pandemic’s outbreak) and the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 (to prevent hoarding, black-marketing of essential items like masks and sanitisershave also been invoked.

 

12. Coronavirus vaccination in housing societies

To prevent a ‘second peak’ of the Coronavirus pandemic, PM Modi has urged states to focus on vaccination. Now, those above 18 years of age, can also get the vaccine. However, even after the vaccination, the same rules of social distancing and personal hygiene remain as important as before.

With the central government ruling out a door-to-door vaccination drive, Mumbai residents have come up with the next best option — COVID-19 vaccination camps in housing societies. In the past week, several cooperative housing societies across Mumbai have procured vaccines from private hospitals and set up camps within their premises.

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation has issued a detailed guideline, permitting housing societies to tie up with private hospitals/ COVID vaccination centres (CVC) to hold these drives on their premises, subject to the availability of stocks. Following are the guidelines that have to be followed:

*A registered private COVID Vaccination Center can manage the vaccination at housing societies. One of their senior staff will be appointed as a ‘Nodal Officer’ to coordinate and support vaccination activities. This Nodal Officer shall oversee and facilitate all aspects of vaccination like registration of beneficiaries, availability of physical and IT infrastructure and oversight to the vaccination, etc.

*It will be mandatory for the beneficiaries to be registered in the Co-WIN portal before vaccination. The PCVC Nodal Officer shall ensure the registration of all targeted beneficiaries.

*The information of all such linked housing societies will be given in detail to the local health authority (respective ward MOH) & EPI. These registered housing societies shall act as a sub-center of the PCVC.

*Availability of three rooms as waiting, vaccination and observation rooms at the housing society’s CVC will be mandatory.

*Minimum eligible number of registered beneficiaries (multiples of 10) and sessions can be planned for optimal utilisation of vaccine dosage and to reduce wastage.

*The most important thing will be the availability of an ambulance at the sub-vaccination site and along with linkages to the nearby health facility for the management of AEFI.

*It is mandatory for the management of the housing society to take responsibility for arranging adequate rooms/space for vaccination.

*It will also be mandatory for all housing societies to have an anaphylaxis kit for management of any adverse event and they need to quickly report the event to the nearest health facility (AEFI Management Centre).

*Deployment of basic life support (BLS) ambulance at the housing society shall be utilised for shifting beneficiaries during the adverse event, if any.

*It will be mandatory for these housing societies to ensure sessions are conducted as per the type of vaccinations. The second dose and first dose should not be mixed up and should be administered in different sessions, to avoid mix-ups.

*The PCVC nodal officer shall be responsible for providing a printed copy of the vaccination certificate both, after the first and second  doses, to the beneficiary, on-site, after vaccination.

 

13. Government advisory for residential complexes

Recently, the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare released an advisory for gated residential complexes, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Stating that residents’ welfare associations (RWAs) have a significant role to play in preventing the Coronavirus disease, the release gave some tips as listed below:

  • Residential complexes must create awareness through posters, standees and AV media.
  • Sanitisers must be made available for all, at the entry points.
  • Thermal screening of all staff and visitors, which includes vendors, domestic help and car cleaners, is a must.
  • Safe distance of six ft should be maintained in public areas.
  • Get-togethers and gatherings should be avoided.
  • Seating in gardens and parks should be placed, keeping in mind social distancing norms.
  • Elevators should not be crowded and the number of people who can use it at a time must be restricted and defined.
  • Residential complexes and their premises and common areas should be regularly sanitised.
  • RWAs must encourage residents to inform the authorities about their symptoms.
  • RWAs must also disseminate central or state government advisories to the residents, through social media and chat groups.
  • In case of health emergencies, the RWA should be prepared to assist the resident to the nearest healthcare provider.
  • Fake news regarding COVID-19 and myths, stigma, rumours around the same must be addressed by the RWA.
  • If possible, the RWA must maintain and manage availability of masks, pulse oximeter, sodium, hypochlorite solution, soaps and water supply in common areas, OTC drugs like paracetamol, ORS, etc.
  • In case an RWA meets the conditions and guidelines laid out by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, they can set up a COVID Care Facility for residents.

14. RWA’s role, in case a resident tests positive for COVID-19

Besides the immediate family, the RWA too has a role to play, in case a member tests positive for the Novel Coronavirus. RWAs must ensure the following:

  • Encourage residents to self-report and facilitate tests, isolation and quarantine of infected person/s.
  • Counsel, guide and support affected individuals or families, with more focus on those living alone.
  • Undertake risk assessment to manage the case further.
  • Avoid any kind of stigma against those in quarantine or isolation.
  • If the residential complex is in a containment zone, the RWA must cooperate and follow guidelines such as facilitating house-to-house search by healthcare professionals, identify the aged or co-morbid patients, ensure all homes have access to surveillance by the medical team, etc.

 

15. Advisory on use of ACs in public/common areas

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) emphasises the following, while using air-conditioners in common or public areas:

  • The temperature setting should be in the range of 24-30 degrees.
  • Relative humidity range should be 40%-70%.
  • Recirculation of air is not recommended, avoid it as much as possible.
  • Encourage cross-ventilation and intake of fresh air.

 

16. General advisory from the Ministry 

  • Persons above 65 years of age and under 10 years of age should be encouraged to stay at home and meet people/guests, only if very necessary.
  • Physical distancing of six ft is compulsory for everyone.
  • Face covers or masks are compulsory.
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 40-60 seconds, even if the hands are not seemingly unclean.
  • Use sanitisers for 20 seconds, whenever required.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and always use a tissue, handkerchief or in the absence of these, flex your elbow to minimise the risk of transmission.
  • Everyone should monitor their health and do not shy away from reporting it to the district or state helpline number.
  • Spitting in public places is prohibited.
  • The Aarogya Setu app must be used by all.

 

17. List of 10 things to avoid during Coronavirus

  • Do not self-medicate or suggest medicines to others.
  • Do not rely upon carelessly-stitched home-made masks.
  • Do not speak over the phone in public spaces without your masks on.
  • Do not buy just about any sanitiser or product that guarantees total protection.
  • Do not overuse sanitisers. When at home, prefer soap and water.
  • Do not wear masks of other family members.
  • Do not let children wear ill-fitting masks and protection gear.
  • Do not wait for another person in public spaces, especially in hospitals, convenience shops or supermarkets.
  • Do not hide your condition, if you suspect COVID-19, from lab technicians, your domestic help and others who visit you frequently.
  • Do not violate home quarantine rules if you have a family member who has just come home from another city or country.

 

Other important things to know

 

18. Difference between quarantine, social distancing and isolation

Although sometimes used interchangeably, these terms are different and should be used according to the circumstances. Refer to the table below:

Term  Meaning When to use
Quarantine Restrict the movement of people who may have been exposed to the Coronavirus, to confirm whether they are developing symptoms. For example, Anil has returned from a foreign trip and has met Vikas. Vikas develops some symptoms. In this case, both, Anil and Vikas, should be quarantined.
Social distancing Also understood as physical distancing, it is used to reduce the risk of transmission. It is a precautionary measure, which involves maintaining a six-ft distance from another person, especially those outside your family. This should not be confused with cutting off social ties. If you are out to buy essentials, maintain a six-ft distance from the next person in the queue or while walking or talking to someone else.
Isolation Used to separate the infected person from those who have not contracted the Coronavirus. Anil is tested for COVID-19 and is a positive case. He is isolated in a COVID-care facility or isolated at home, away from all other family members.

 

19. Common terms associated with Coronavirus

Terms Meaning
Antibody It is a blood protein that your immune system makes, in response to the virus. These antibodies are specific to the pathogen (virus). If you have the antibodies for the Coronavirus, it means you have been exposed to the virus and your immune system can protect you from being harmed by it.
Community spread When a COVID-19 positive case is detected but its origin cannot be confirmed, community spread is said to have started. Usual origins are travel or contact with an infected person.
Comorbidity Those with comorbidity (that is, having more than one disease at a time such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart-related ailments, etc.) are at a higher risk of Coronavirus. If infected, such cases could turn sensitive.
Containment Those infected or an area with a large number of COVID-19 cases, may be contained or isolated, to limit the outbreak of the disease. It is usually a strategy resorted to by the authorities to check the virus’ spread. An individual can be contained in a dedicated COVID care hospital. A sensitive zone can be contained or sealed.
COVID pneumonia Air sacs in the lungs of an infected person may be filled with fluid or pus due to inflammation, leading to low levels of blood oxygen. Severe cases may also cause harm to the brain or heart.

See also: Everything you need to know about oxygen machine for Covid

Herd immunity When a large number of people are immune to the Coronavirus, either because of a vaccine or because they have developed resistance. It is estimated that at least 94% of the population should be immune, in order to limit person-to-person transmission of measles. The number is unknown for Coronavirus, as it is a new type of virus.
Immunocompromised Used to refer to those who have a weak immunity. Their white blood cell count is lower and they may have other diseases such as cancer, diabetes, or other ailments that make it harder for their immune system to fight Coronavirus.
Incubation The time duration between exposure to the Coronavirus and developing symptoms.
Intubation Severely infected people who are unable to breathe may need intubation. A flexible tube is inserted into the trachea through the mouth and connected to the ventilator for artificial support.
Flattening the curve Refers to the health strategy adopted by the government to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, over time. It is represented visually in a graph that over time shows that fewer people need intensive healthcare to overcome the risks posed by the Coronavirus.
Personal protective equipment or PPE Refers to the specialised clothing and equipment used to protect the body against health hazards, including exposure to contagious diseases.
Pandemic Refers to the global outbreak of an infectious disease, with larger reach as compared to an epidemic that is often localised to one region.
Symptomatic Individual showing symptoms of COVID-19, such as dry cough, fever, shortness of breath and body ache.

20. Basic precautions against fake vaccine drives

Several housing societies in Mumbai reported incidents of fake private vaccination camps at which people are being injected with fake vials of COVID-19 vaccines. To avoid such instances, here is a list of few basic steps that housing societies should take:

1. The residents’ welfare association members should intimate the local civic authorities and police officials about their plans to get vaccinated at a private vaccination camp.

2. Residential societies should directly sign an agreement with the private hospital for setting up a COVID-19 vaccine camp on their premises.

3. Refrain from getting vaccinated at a centre that does not register one on the Cowin vaccine portal.

4. The beneficiaries should also ask vaccinators at the camp to produce their vaccination certificate immediately after getting the jab.

5. The beneficiaries must notice their body behaviour after they have received the vaccine and also ask other beneficiaries who were vaccinated at the centre for the same. If none of the beneficiaries reports post-vaccination symptoms, then, contact the local health authorities and check the credentials of the private vaccination camps.

 

Latest updates

Recently, the Union Health Ministry issued guidelines on setting up near-to-home vaccination centres for senior citizens and the differently-abled. The National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19 (NEGVAC) had recommended the proposal by a Technical Expert Committee of the union ministry, pertaining to the guidelines for Near to Home COVID Vaccination Centres (NHCVC) for the elderly and differently-abled citizens. 

The vaccination centres will be organised for the eligible population, as specified below: 

  • Individuals aged above 60 years with no vaccination or first dose vaccine.
  • Individuals aged below 60 years having disability owing to any physical or medical condition.

As per the guidelines, a community-based approach would be followed, where the sessions can be conducted in non-health facility-based settings and are nearer to home, for example, in a community centre, RWA centre or office, panchayat ghar, school buildings, old age homes, etc. The NHCVC will be linked to an existing CVC for vaccination purpose. The CVC in-charge will be responsible for delivering the vaccine, logistics and human resources needed for vaccination.

The District Task Force (DTF) / Urban Task Force (UTF) will be responsible for planning and implementing the vaccination at the NHCVC, with full flexibility to adjust the proposed plan as per local circumstances and need.

The site for NHCVC will be pre-identified, in collaboration with community groups and RWAs. Once identified and verified for meeting the CVC criteria, such sites will be registered on the CoWIN portal as NHCVC.

 

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