Housekeeping Covid-19 away


PETALING JAYA: Clean those door knobs, tap faucets or other frequently touched surfaces.

Now that Covid-19 patients with mild or no symptoms at all are required to self-isolate at home instead of going to a quarantine centre, the Health Ministry has provided guidelines on sanitising your home if you are living with an infected person.

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According to the ministry, the bathroom used by the patient should be disinfected at least once a day.

To prepare for the disinfectant solution, use five tablespoons of 5% sodium hypochlorite with 3.8 litres of water or four teaspoons of 5% sodium hypochlorite with 0.95 litres of water.

“The personal protective equipment needed are face mask, face shield, plastic apron and gloves.

“Surfaces can be cleaned with a normal detergent first, rinse and then clean using the disinfectant solution containing 0.1% sodium hypochlorite, ” it noted, adding that the person sanitising should wash their hands before and after the cleaning process.

Also, the ministry said that those who were living with a Covid-19 patient at home should wear a mask and disposable gloves when handling the patient’s clothes.

“Dirty clothes and linen should be stored in a sealed plastic or closed storage until it is ready to be washed.

“The clothes should also be separated from others.

“Don’t shake the laundry as the virus can be transmitted through the air, ” it said.

Health experts said the public should sanitise and disinfect shared spaces within their own house and workspace and especially if there was a Covid-19 case in the area.

Universiti Putra Malaysia medical epidemiologist Assoc Prof Dr Malina Osman said one of the basic principles for sanitisation was whether there was a risk of virus exposure.

“It depends on whether there is presence of possible infection in the area or not, ” she said.

Dr Malina said if there was a positive case at the workplace, sanitisation needed to be done at the person’s work desk and common areas including lift, railing, door knobs, toilet and other identified areas.

“There is no need to have a blanket rule to sanitise the whole building, the road to the office or the drainage system, ” she added.

Public health assistant Muhamad Shahir Mohd Razali said it was safe to use disinfectants to clean surfaces that were regularly touched such as table tops and door knobs.

“This can also be done at the workplace where sanitisation can be done once every two weeks.

“And for surfaces that are regularly touched, they can do it twice a day.

“This will help reduce the risk of transmitting diseases and viruses, ” he added.

Shahir said his team often conducted sanitisation at places where a Covid-19 patient had been to such as quarantine centres, offices, crematoriums or cemeteries.

“We sanitise the areas with a chemical solution which is sodium hypochlorite and water mixed according to the required measurement.

“The areas that we sanitise are the toilet, kitchen, bedroom and common areas, ” he said, noting that the PPE worn during disinfection would later be discarded in a bio-hazard plastic bag sealed and sprayed with detergent.

Malaysian Medical Association president Prof Datuk Dr Subramaniam Muniandy said disposable gloves or gloves dedicated for sanitising surfaces should be worn when sanitising.

“The home should also be sufficiently ventilated when sanitising to protect against inhaling harmful chemical vapours from the disinfectant.

“Surfaces should be disinfected after they are cleaned with soap and water, ” he said, noting that disposable gloves or rubber gloves should be worn and discarded properly.

Dr Subramaniam said mobile phones should also be wiped clean and disinfected everyday as it was the most used device often placed on various surfaces.

He said frequently touched surfaces such as door handles, switches, table tops and chairs should be cleaned at least twice a day.

“Staff should get into the habit of washing hands frequently with soap and water or hand sanitiser.

“In smaller companies, staff should clean and disinfect their own workstation, ” he said, adding that face masks should be worn in the office to protect others and surfaces from respiratory droplets.

Dr Malina emphasised that the basic measure in preventing Covid-19 infection was to take care of personal hygiene.

“Any person who has to be at the office, regardless of their Covid-19 status, as it is often unknown, should always avoid touching unnecessary areas, always wash their hands when touching various surfaces and should never allow their nasal droplets or saliva to contaminate the office or public areas.

“If there is a possible contamination, it should be cleaned as soon as possible, ” she added.

Dr Malina said the current measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19 like working from home, reducing the number of employees to 30% and stricter SOP were adequate.

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