GUIDELINES FOR PREVENTION OF COVID-19 IN PUBLIC PLACES (BANKS, OFFICES, SHOPPING MALLS, RESTAURANTS, MARKETS)

Currently the world is faced with a pandemic of COVID-19, a novel virus that spreads so fast through droplet infection especially in crowded places and causes illness. Since its new, there is no immunity against it. Therefore, it is important that we practice preventive measures.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19 include; 

 Running Nose (flu)

 Dry Cough

Fever

General tiredness

Difficulty in breathing if the patient develops pneumonia.

Others include aches, sore throat, loss of taste or smell

Serious symptoms include:

Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

Chest pain or pressure

Loss of speech or movement

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Public areas like banks, offices, shopping malls, restaurants, markets and other small businesses are areas of heavy human traffic and crowding. The Ministry of Health and the centre for disease and control has developed the following guidelines to provide information to the general public in these areas to prevent infection with COVID-19.

Urban authorities, Employers, Managers and Owners of public premises MUST adhere to the following;

1. All individuals accessing public premises must undergo temperature screening.

Guideline on the prevention of Covid 19 in public places
The image of Covid 19 virus

2. Ensure provision of adequate hand washing facilities with soap and water or alcohol-based hand rub. Everyone MUST wash and sanitize before entry to these places and as frequently as possible. Handwashing facilities and alcohol based sanitizers should be placed at strategic points like security checks, entrances, bathrooms, toilets, conference rooms, kitchens/canteens, payment points, and ATMs.

3. Ensure your work areas are clean and hygienic – regularly clean all surfaces with disinfectant (soap and water or JIK) (e.g. desks and tables, telephones and keyboards, kitchens/canteens) at least three times a day.

4. Regularly clean and disinfect (soap and water or JIK) all communal places such as; bathrooms, toilets, floor surfaces; and frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs/handles, staircase, elevator rails and elevator buttons with disinfectant or soap and water. This cleaning should be done under close supervision, at least 3 times a day and 4 times in areas of extremely heavy traffic.

5. Provide adequate waste management facilities (waste bins and bin-liners, cans) and ensure availability of properly protected/trained waste handlers with gloves, masks, aprons and protective overalls where necessary.

6. Avoid overcrowding and body contact. Keep a distance of one meter between each other. All public places are advised to devise more innovative ways to avoid overcrowding.

7. Ensure there is good ventilation and good respiratory hygiene in the workplace.

8. Regularly update your employees with information on COVID-19 as provided by the Ministry of Health.

9. Travel outside the country is currently banned unless extremely essential like ill health.

10. Amend workplace policies to enable employees work from home in  the event of outbreak.

11. All persons who have recently travelled back into the country from the Category 1 countries will undergo mandatory institutional quarantine at facilities identified by Ministry of Health. Travelers MUST adhere to the guidelines provided for quarantine.

12. Display posters with information and key messages on COVID-19 in different languages in places that are easily visible (offices, notice boards, doors, trees, kiosks, supermarkets etc).

13. Provide guidelines on Do’s and Don’ts to every customer who accesses your premises. These include the following;

a. Cover your mouth and nose with tissue or a handkerchief when coughing and sneezing. The handkerchief must be washed and ironed by you daily. In case of use of disposable tissue, ensure it is disposed of in a waste bin or a designated area where it can be burnt on a daily basis. In this way, you protect others from any virus released through cough and sneezing. At all times at the premises, put on a face mask.

b. Wash your hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand rub immediately after using the tissue or handkerchief.

c. Maintain a distance of 1 meter from anyone who is coughing or sneezing and remind them that they need to have a face mask to avoid infecting others. 

d. Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth at all times. Hands touch many surfaces including money which can be contaminated with the virus and you can transfer the virus from the surface to yourself.

e. AVOID hand-shakes and hugging at all times.

f. DO NOT SPIT in public. Identify secluded places like pit latrines or toilets for purposes of spitting and wash your hands immediately with soap and water. 

g. Thoroughly cook meat, poultry and eggs

h. Avoid unprotected contact with dead animals. Do NOT eat meat of dead animals.

i. If you suspect any person has developed signs and symptoms of COVID-19, immediately call the Ministry of Health toll free lines for your country and alert them about the situation with full address of the suspected case.

For Nigerians visit https://covid19.ncdc.gov.ng/contact/ to get the contact for your state.

The following mandatory facilities must be in place at all premises and accessible to everyone:

1. Toilets/latrines: 1 stance for every 20 persons

2. Hand washing facilities with running water and soap and a good drainage system OR alcohol based hand rubs/sanitizers

3. Waste management facilities (waste bins and bin liners, incinerators)

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