Dubai: As a majority of employees returned to work on Sunday, the Dubai Health Authority’s (DHA’s) public health department issued guidelines for both employers and employees to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Outlining the ‘new normal’ standards Dr Badria Al Harmi, Director of Public Health Protection Department at DHA urged all residents going back to work to quickly adapt to those. Washing hands before wearing a face mask, donning the mask correctly and refraining from fidgeting with it after it has been worn were some of the tips she reiterated.
“I recommend keeping a few spare masks in a sealed bag. If people need to use a new mask, they must wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or they must sanitise their hands thoroughly,” said Al Harmi.
She emphasised the importance of maintaining a distance of one metre with another individual at all times.
“This should be practiced every time a person steps out of the house, whether it is in the office or while buying groceries. The importance of maintaining a safe distance should not be underestimated,” she added.
All employees must carry a hand sanitiser with them at all times and refrain from sharing any personal item with their colleagues.
“Employees must use their own office phone and disinfect the phone thoroughly if they are sharing phones,” added Dr Al Harmi. “If they are wearing gloves, they must sanitise the gloves regularly. They must avoid touching their face, eyes and nose at all times.”
Avoid any big meetings
Employees are cautioned against gathering with their colleagues for group lunches or big gatherings at the work place. Those who have mild fever or upper respiratory tract infection or flu like symptoms or suspect they might have been contact with COVID-19 must refrain from going to work.
Dr Al Harmi added that in addition to the precautions that employers need to undertake such as daily disinfection measures, organisers of meetings at work need to bear certain considerations in mind.
“They should first think whether the meeting could be held electronically. If not, all social distancing measures should be in place. Furthermore, scale down the number of people attending the meeting,, the meeting room must have sanitisers and tissues and a closed dustbin. The seating should be organised in a way that there is a distance of at least one metre between each employee. Simple measures go a long way in minimising the risk of infection,” she said.
Follow rules to sanitise oneself once back home from work
Al Harmi also added that every person who must undertake precautionary measured to sanitise himself once that individual reaches home. “Measures include removing the mask and gloves before entering the house, removing the footwear at the doorstep, disinfecting the phone, car key and valet, washing hands thoroughly and changing clothes. We must not drop our guard down now,” she observed.
She cautioned Dubai residents from believing in rumours and said that people should only rely on information from official sources and those who have any query can call the following numbers. DHA call centre -800 342, Estijaba service at the operation centre, Department of Health – 8001717 or Ministry of Health & Prevention – 80011111.
Tips for employees returning to work
- Ensure physical distancing while you are at work
- Greet your colleagues from far
- Wear a facemask at all times
- Regularly disinfect your desk and other surfaces
- Make sure to wash your hands or sanitise them regularly
- Do not share your personal items with your colleagues
- Bring your own prayer mat to work
- Stay home if you are suffering from any health symptoms