“Guest workers found positive have to be segregated. If they are asymptomatic positive, then they may work in areas exclusively marked by taking all precautions,’’ say the new guidelines.
The new guidelines prohibit such workers from mixing with others. Their stay and food have to be arranged as per first line treatment centre (FLTC) guidelines issued for asymptomatic positives. If one develops symptoms such as fever, cough, sore throat, diarrhoea, loss of smell or breathlessness, they have to be referred to a Covid hospital in the district, and information has to be passed to DISHA 1056.
Experts have raised concerns. “For the viral diseases, treatment is supportive care. How can you ask people to work if they are Covid-positive? It is against ICMR directions. Such guidelines should have been issued after consulting the health department,’’ said Dr G S Vijayakrishnan, general secretary, Kerala Government Medical Officers Association. However, the new guidelines also stipulate that guest workers be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.
As per the new norms, the place of quarantine may be decided by the contractor. It must be ensured that the room is safe and hygienic. The workers who arrive without a testing certificate may be subjected to antigen testing on the fifth day, and the contractor must bear the cost. The technical teams, officers, and consultants who reach the state should also be offered a safe place by the contractor. The technical officer can be advised to take rapid antigen or RT-PCR tests in the last 96 hours and follow the protocol for their period of stay at the project site or in the vicinity.