Every day the count of COVID-19 cases is rising in India. We have been urged by both the union and state governments to actively practise social distancing. We should reduce our contact to the bare minimum to prevent our exposure to the virus.
While social distancing is one of the surest ways to defeat the COVID19 threat, it can be a challenge for housing societies. Why? Read on to find out.
The unique challenge faced by housing societies
Housing societies are very densely populated. People live in close proximity. Hundreds or maybe thousands of families live very near us and use many common facilities like the gym, swimming pool, jogging track etc.
That is why social distancing is difficult to maintain in a housing complex. You may even be using the same elevator or staircase, building entrance, touching the same handrails or elevator buttons as many others. And as we all know, the COVID-19 virus can linger on these surfaces for 24-72 hours.
The viruses can even stay alive suspended as particles in the air after someone coughs or sneezes. And if even one out of the many people living in a housing complex contracts the virus, there is a good possibility it will spread like wildfire.
How can people in housing societies protect themselves?
It is impossible to remain completely isolated in a housing complex because of the close proximity in which people live.
Does that mean you have to live in perpetual fear of contracting the infection? No, there are a few things you can do that will keep you and your loved ones safe.
Guidelines for residents
- Every time you touch anything outside your apartment, be it elevator buttons or groceries, wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.
- Do not touch your face, nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Cough or sneeze into your elbow.
- Avoid crowded places. Do not be part of any gatherings, no matter how small, inside your housing society.
- Stay away from anyone who seems sick in your housing society. Call them later to enquire after their health.
- If you are running a fever or have a sore throat, self isolate yourself. If the symptoms worsen, contact a healthcare professional.
- Don’t visit common areas like the gym and swimming pool.
- If anyone in your housing society has come in from abroad or any other state, request them to get tested for COVID-19. Also, they must stay quarantined within their apartments for at least 2 weeks.
- Make sure that you are eating healthily. Exercise regularly inside your apartment. These measures will bolster your immunity.
Guidelines for staff
- The security guards and other staff must wear masks at all times.
- They should have a supply of hand sanitizers or soap and water to clean their hands with.
- They should maintain a distance of 1 metre from people coming in from outside such as the newspaper boy or medicine delivery person.
- If a guard has been recently appointed, call up the security agency to ask about where he was stationed before he came here. This information is vital for the guard’s health as well as yours.
- Inform your domestic aid about all the safety measures being adopted and make sure he/she observes them as well.
Caring for pets
There is no evidence that pet animals can contract or spread COVID-19. But to be safe, make sure that your pet has been administered with all the vital vaccines. Give it a shower with deworming soap once every week. If it is time for a veterinary visit, postpone it unless it’s an emergency. If you have a dog, walk your dog inside the apartment every day and request all dog-owners in the housing society to do the same.
People in housing societies can protect themselves from coronavirus if they follow the guidelines strictly. They should stay home and maintain high standards of personal hygiene to safeguard their health.