By Duncan Mlanjira
In cognizance that hospitals are highly infectious environments, the Ministry of Health & Population (MoH) directs that the tradition by the general public of visiting should be restricted to once a day during lunch hour and strictly for 1 hour as a measure to prevent possible transmission of coronavirus (COVID19) in response to the pandemic.
This, according Secretary of Health & Population Dr. Dan Namarika, applies to all government, private and CHAM hospitals — also as an effort to combat general disease transmission to both the patients, visitors and reduce overcrowding in the wards as is the trend on a daily basis.
The statement from Namarika says only one guardian per patient will be allowed and will be issued an identification card by the hospital security personnel for this purpose.
The guardians are also strongly prohibited from eating food during lunch hour and evening inside the wards.
“Family members, relatives and other visitors should meet the guardian outside the wards to limit overcrowding.
“Ward rounds shall be conducted regularly to ensure that patients that have recovered are discharged home promptly in an effort to avoid overcrowding.
“Hospital management should ensure availability of PPEs at all time for use”.
MoH also issues the directives to the Road Traffic & Immigration; hostels and lodgings; supermarkets; churches and banks.
The banks are asked as much as possible to encourage customers to conduct electronic banking and to increase the number of tellers to serve the customers with speed.
Alcohol based hand sanitizers should be placed/mounted at the entrance as washing facilities may not be practical and that security guards should make sure that everyone must sanitize their hands before entering and when exiting the bank.
The banks are asked to limit the number of customers entering the banking hall to be overseen by the security personnel and to limit the number in the waiting area by letting others wait outside to be called using numbering/call system.
“Quick screening should be done for those with obvious flue signs and to provide them with surgical mask and where possible 1 meter spacing on the queue.
“Members of staff should use surgical masks and use alcohol based hand sanitizers and not disposable gloves when handling money.”
MoH directs that hand sanitizers should be mounted next to auto teller machines and and that these ATMs should be cleaned regularly with alcohol based disinfectants.
Hotels and lodges have been directed to notify medical authorities immediately if they receive visitors recently returning from COVID-19 affected countries.
On top of the measures mentioned, churches have been asked to also limit the numbers to less than 100 and if possible to gather in open air.
Church seating should be at social distance of 1 meter apart and that the churches should suspend large church, weddings and baptism gatherings.
MoH says district and city councils shall enforce adherence to these directives and for further information the general public can contact ‘Chipatalachapafoni’ on toll free number 54747.