Wednesday, April 22, 2020

If We Should See Red

Commandeered by His Majesty the King, our government is doing a remarkable job at containment – thus far we in Bhutan feel safe and protected. But having a neighbor like India that is a cauldron teeming with close to 1.4 billion people, it is a time bomb waiting to explode. Thus I for one am praying that Modi-ji will act the tyrant that he is projected to be. However, I cannot help but feel a sense of unease given India’s population size and habitation density.

For now we have no home grown cases – all those we had are from outside. That is cold comfort though – should India enter a state of full blown spread, which I believe is a real possibility, we need to plan and step up our safety protocols to a level that is many, many notches above what has been recommended under the current controlled circumstances.

Personally, the following is what I will be implementing – the moment a homegrown case is reported:

I will impose a total EMBARGO on house visits by relatives or friends – without exception. No visits – either announced or otherwise.

A member of the family will be allowed only one exit/entry per day. If it is anticipated that a member has to make multiple exits, he/she will have to stay out the whole day. In that event, he/she has to carry pack lunch. He/she will be allowed re-entry into the house only once – day, evening or night.

No visits to restaurants for lunch/dinner. That will be strictly prohibited – that is why the pack lunch. Actually this restriction is already in place.

Two separate outdoors bath tents will be set up outside the house. One tent will house change of clothing for the person needing to exit. One tent will serve as a stripping room.

Tents for change of clothing and removing used clothing of the day

A member of the family needing to exit has to ensure that a full set of change of clothing is deposited inside the clothing tent before exiting the house.

Upon retiring for the day, the member of the family will first remove the shoes/socks and dip it in medicated water trough and hang it outside to dry. He/she will then put on the hand gloves and only thereafter the changing tent should be accessed in bare feet.

There is an interesting product that has been introduced in the market for disinfecting large number of people that seems like a useful product for Bhutan to consider. It is available both in stationary and mobile type of installations.

After removing the day’s clothing – it should be put inside a plastic bag, seal it and thrown outside and left there for the next 24 hours. The member will be required to follow the correct procedures to remove the hand gloves after use, as follows. Bare hand must not touch the used glove’s exterior.

Putting on the right hand glove

Putting on the left hand glove

Hand gloves are firmly on

Taking off: First take off the left hand glove and throw outside

Peel off the glove slowly so that there is no tear

Without touching the exterior of the glove, insert index and middle fingers of the left hand inside the handle of the right hand glove and slide the glove up over the fingers

Peel it off all the way and throw outside the tent

After sanitizing the hands and soles of the feet - this should happen just out side the changing room tent door - the member will walk over the floor mat bare feet and enter the tent housing the fresh set of clothing. After changing into fresh set of clothing, the member will exit the tent in fresh house sandals and access the house.

Once inside the house, the member will proceed to the kitchen or bathroom, and wash his/her hands with soap and water.

The used clothing will be left outside for at least 24 hours, before they are run through the washing machine, using hand gloves. Emptying the soiled clothing into the washing machine should be done with utmost care. Yet again, proper procedure for removal of hand gloves is to be followed, before dropping then into the washing machine.

Isopropyl Alcohol I.P. 70% v/v Hand Sanitizer: Use in moderation.

The label is designed by me but the liquid inside is for real. The original bottle did not come with a dispensing pump so I used another brand's casing.

A member should use hand sanitizer no more than once during the day. The next/second time the member must use hand sanitizer will be during the time of changing clothing. Studies have concluded that it is not very good to use hand sanitizers too often. Moderation in its use is encouraged.

Regular washing of hands with water and soap is the best and the safest. Excessive use of sanitizer is said to have dire consequences to our hand microbiome – the good bacteria that keep our skin and bodes, healthy.

Should any readers have additional precautions to suggest, please do so.

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