Govt issues advisory on how masks, distance, ventilation can beat Covid-19

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    The principal scientific adviser to the government has issued guidelines to stop the transmission of coronavirus amid the second wave hitting India hard. The advisory highlights the important role masks, distance, sanitation, and well-ventilated spaces play in diluting the viral load of infected air in poorly ventilated houses and offices. It highlights that “ventilation can decrease the risk of transmission” from one infected person to the other.

    “Just as smells can be diluted from the air through opening windows and doors and using exhaust systems, ventilating spaces with improved directional airflow decreases the accumulated viral land in the air, reducing the risk of transmission,” says the advisory. Advisory defines ventilation as “a community defence” that protects all at home or work.

    The covid-19 virus infects a human host where it can multiply and spread to other individuals. “In the absence of the host it cannot survive,” the advisory adds. To stop the transmission of the virus from one person to another, all individuals, communities, local bodies and authorities will have to cooperate and follow guidelines on masks, ventilation, distancing, and sanitation, the advisory adds.

    Some of the suggestions in the advisory are:

    • Introducing outdoor air in offices, homes and larger public spaces is advised.
    • Measures must be taken to improve ventilation in these spaces in urban and rural areas alike, recommendations for huts, homes, offices and large centralised buildings are given.
    • Simple strategic placement of fans, open windows and doors, even slightly open windows can introduce outdoor air and improve the air quality inside.
    • Introduction of cross ventilation and exhaust fans will be beneficial in curtailing the spread of the disease,”
    • In buildings with central air-management systems improving central air filtration/increased filtration efficiency is especially helpful when enhanced outdoor air delivery options are limited.
    • In offices, auditoriums, shopping malls etc, the use of gable fan systems and roof ventilators are recommended. Frequent cleaning and replacement of filters are highly recommended.
    • An infected person who shows no symptoms also transmit the virus, and people without symptoms can spread the virus. People should continue wearing a mask, wear double masks or an N95 mask.
    • Saliva and nasal discharge in the form of droplets and aerosols by an infected person while exhaling, talking, speaking, singing, laughing, coughing or sneezing etc is the primary mode of virus transmissions.