The University Grants Commission (UGC) has sent an advisory to varsities to take preventive measures to combat the threat of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), as some cases of the virus have been reported in the country. The Commission has requested all universities and their affiliated colleges to take necessary precautions for "a coordinated and collective effort in a mission mode".
The Commission has also asked varsities to follow the advisory released by it to help in prevention or reduction of the transmission of the virus.
It advised the universities and colleges to avoid large gatherings on campus.
"Any student/ staff with travel history to any COVID-19 affected country or in contact with such persons in last 28 days, should be monitored and home quarantined for 14 days," the advisory said.
The UGC advisory is coming after the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry has asked all states and union territories to undertake a massive awareness campaign on novel coronavirus (COVID-19) among students across the country.
One more person tested positive for coronavirus today, taking the number of affected persons to 30 in the country. The figure had taken a jump yesterday with a group of 14 Italian tourists testing positive for the virus. The rising number of cases has pushed the Delhi government to shut the primary schools till March 30. A similar decision is likely for the secondary section once the exams are over, the government has hinted.
The UGC asked the universities to follow these directives:
- Faculty should be alert towards any student with signs and symptoms i.e. fever, cough and difficulty in breathing, and should immediately have the student tested.
- Till advised by the treating doctor the student should not join campus.
- Faculty staff and students should also be advised about simple public health measures of hand and respiratory hygiene:
Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or use alcohol based hand sanitizer, even when hands are visibly clean.
1. Everyone should cover their mouth with a tissue/handkerchief (or their sleeve if there are no tissues available) when they cough or sneeze and wash their hands afterwards.
2. Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
3. Everyone should throw away used tissues in a bin and wash their hands after contact with coughing/sneezing.
- Frequently touched surfaces - door knobs, switches, desk tops, hand railings etc, should be disinfected.
- Provide alcohol based hand cleaners/sanitizers in frequented spots of the universities/colleges.
- Ensure availability of soap and water in rest rooms at all times.
- Foot operated pedal bins lined with plastic bag should be provided in each classroom and rest room.
In hostels, health status of students as well as the other ancillary staff should be monitored on regular basis. In case, there are suspected cases, the authorized local medical authority should be called for examination.
- Anybody with signs and symptoms (cough, fever or difficulty in breathing) should call State/UT helpline number or Ministry of Health and Family Welfare's 24X7 helpline at 011 2397846 or visit public health facility with a mask or mouth covered.
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