Colombia has been living a new reality since September 1, when the mandatory quarantine ended and the selective isolation stage officially began, which is scheduled until October 1.
In this new phase, as explained by the health authorities, Self-care and individual responsibility are the keys to preventing the spread of covid-19 and advancing in the economic reopening of the country.
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One of the doubts that persist among citizens is whether, during this new stage, people will be able to gradually return to their workplaces, since many continue to carry out their work activities from home.
Decree 1168 that the Government issued to regulate selective isolation does not establish the restriction to return to the offices, but it does make an important clarification: "Public and private sector entities will ensure that their employees or contractors whose presence is not essential at the workplace perform the functions and obligations under the modalities of teleworking, work at home or other similar ”.
This means that, if you can continue to do your work from home, it is best to continue teleworking to take care of your health and that of those around you.
If it is essential for your work to be physically present, it is important that you take these recommendations into account, since the offices are in the category of ‘medium high risk’ of contagion, as established by the Ministry of Health.
(You can check: Ten Tips for Successful Telecommuting)
Never forget your mask!
First of all, keep in mind that the use of face masks is mandatory at all times and must be used both in individual and collective transport. If you must take public transport to go to your office, follow these two steps:
- Wash your hands or apply disinfectant, put on your mask and keep a distance of at least one meter from other passengers. If this is not possible, try not to take it or do it during hours of less traffic.
- At the end of the tour, apply sanitizer again to your hands, do not touch the mask or your face and try to wash your hands with soap and water when before.
If you take individual transportation you must follow the same steps mentioned above. When using the car it is ideal that the routes are short and try to have the windows open to improve ventilation and air circulation.
In both motorcyclists and bicycles the mask is not negotiable. Remember the responsibility you have to others.
(You can also read: The new guide to protecting yourself on public transport)
Disinfection and hand washing, the main thing
When you arrive at your office, the first thing to do is disinfect the items you bring from the street and wash your hands. This action can save your life.
MinSalud establishes that owners or bosses must ensure that "employees, contractors, and clients have access to sinks, water, soap, and disposable towels." He also recommends having a small bottle of alcohol gel to facilitate disinfection.
While you are in the company it is important that you disinfect surfaces frequently and keep the site ventilated.
The Ministry of Health also advises promoting good respiratory hygiene in the office. Thus, It is advisable to display billboards with useful ‘tips’ for employees in this regard.
The health authority, in the document it established to prevent covid-19 in the workplace, is clear that each company must have a contingency plan in case an employee develops symptoms of the virus.
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The first thing to do is assign a place in the office where a sick person can be isolated while the authorities arrive from the Ministry of Health. Then you must identify the employees who are most at risk and provide them with support through occupational health units.
Thirdly, it must ensure that there is no type of stigma or discrimination against the person who has symptoms or is infected. Finally, you must establish the passes to follow so that, if your health allows it, you can work at home.
Another recommendation is to avoid sending collaborators who are in the high-risk group (elderly people and those with diabetes, hypertension, coronary heart and lung diseases) on a trip.
But what happens if an employee travels and becomes infected?
They should make sure that employees know who to contact if they feel ill during the trip. The person must follow the local instructions of the destination and for 14 days must monitor the appearance of symptoms and take the body temperature twice a day. Finally, you should contact the Ministry of Health indicating if you develop symptoms and your travel history.
(You could also check: Mandatory covid test and other measures for domestic flights)
Isolate yourself if you have symptoms
With symptoms such as fever, loss of smell, headache, general malaise and pain in the body, diarrhea and cough, stay home, monitor your health and contact your EPS. If after 12 hours you have not been able to establish contact, contact the Superintendency of Health (national toll-free: 01 8000 513 700).
If you experience shortness of breath or a feeling of suffocation, see an emergency department at the nearest hospital immediately.
Allow samples to be taken if requested by health authorities and provide all information regarding places and people with whom you have had contact. If symptoms are minor and there are no complications, stay isolated for 14 days, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Comply with the telephone follow-ups that are requested.
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