The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Friday issued an advisory for hospitals and medical education institutions in the view of COVID-19.
The ministry has asked hospitals to postpone non-essential elective surgeries.
"Some beds should be set apart and prepared for creating isolation facilities in every public and private hospital. All hospitals should mobilize additional resources including masks, gloves and personal protection equipment. Healthcare personnel should be trained for dealing with any foreseeable emergencies," read the advisory.
The ministry said that all doctors, nurses, and support staff in different specialties, including pre and para clinical departments, should be mobilised and trained in infection prevention and control practices.
"Hospitals must procure sufficient numbers of ventilators and high flow oxygen masks in preparation for future requirements. All hospitals must ensure that they have adequate trained manpower and resource pools for ventilator/ ICU care. Hospitals may ensure that stable patients are discharged as early as possible while further new admissions (of stable patients) are also restricted. Number of patient attendants should be strictly restricted to 'one' only," the advisory said.
The health ministry said that patients must be educated about cough etiquette, Do's and Don'ts, proper use of masks instead of using them indiscriminately and inefficiently; and personal hygiene.
It asked hospitals to put up posters to increase awareness amongst patients on Do's and Don'ts regarding COVID-19.
"All hospitals should carry out a preparedness drill on Sunday, 22nd March 2020. Guidelines for this drill will be made available on the Health Ministry website. Non-essential audits of hospitals by various regulators and accreditation agencies may be postponed. All hospitals must provide treatment free of cost to any medical personnel who pick up infection while treating patients," the advisory said.
The minister said that no suspected COVID-19 patient should be turned away from any hospital and the admission of any such patient should be notified to NCDC or IDSP immediately.
"Similarly, all pneumonia patients must also be notified to NCDC or IDSP so that they can be tested for COVID-19. Hospitals to ensure social distancing in their premises. All ongoing examinations may be rescheduled after 31.03.2020," read the advisory.
"All evaluation work may be rescheduled after 31.03.2020. All Educational Institutions and Examination Boards are requested to maintain regular communication with the students and teachers through electronic means and keep them fully informed so that there is no anxiety amongst the students, teachers, and parents," it said.
The ministry said requested institutions to notify help-line numbers/e-mails which students can access for their queries.
"All unauthorized/ authorized shops (excluding pharmacies) and eateries in the vicinity of hospitals should be compulsorily shut. Leave of all kinds (except under emergency and unavoidable circumstances) may be cancelled immediately," the advisory said.
The ministry advised all patients not to come for routine visits to the OPD if it can be avoided or postponed.
"OPDs may be organised in such a manner that patients exhibiting flu-like symptoms are attended separately from other patients and spaced out so as to avoid overcrowding. Patients suffering from chronic diseases and minor elements may be advised to utilise OPDs in primary/ secondary care facilities rather than crowding tertiary care centres," read the advisory.
According to the ministry, Pharmacy counters may be increased and queue management systems to be followed by engaging Indian Red Cross/ NDRF volunteers.
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the number of positive coronavirus cases in India rises to 236.
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