Guidance on infection prevention and control of COVID-19 in relief camps

The Ministry of Health and Sports regularly provides healthcare services for those who stay in relief camps. The biggest challenge for COVID-19 prevention in relief camps is that the camps are overcrowded.
It will be more difficult to control COVID-19 in relief camps, so the roles of management and administration teams of the relevant camps are very significant in trying to effectively control spread of COVID-19. A total of 88 COVID-19 confirmed cases were reported in the Rakhine State until 24 August morning. Seventy-two out of the confirmed cases in the Rakhine State were reported in the period from 16 August to 24 August morning. So, COVID-19 prevention in relief camps is very important.
Unlike the COVID-19 spread in Yangon Region and other States/Regions just a few months ago, the new Covid-19 strain is more infectious and it quickly spread to a lot of people in a week. So, the people need to have strong health awareness for prevention and control of COVID-19.

(1) Actions that camp officials must take

• In accordance with the attached guideline “Case Definitions for Surveillance”, health experts, officials at international organizations, camp officials, and management and administration teams of the relevant camps must collaboratively undertake “surveillance activities”.
• Health instructions sent by the Ministry of Health and Sports must be announced in Myanmar and Bengali languages via handheld speakers in the relief camps five times a day.
• To keep people six feet apart in the relief camps
• To provide enough water and enough “hand washing stations” (soap, water, wash basin and hand sanitizer) in the relief camps
• To arrange in order that wastes and garbage can be disposed systematically in the relief camps
• To avoid gathering in groups when distributing necessary things and food in the relief camps
• To abide by the latest guidelines issued by the Ministry of Health and Sports in spraying disinfectant in the relief camps
• To arrange (Isolation/Quarantine Places) in advance in the relief camps for suspected patients; if a suspected case of COVID-19 has been identified, the camp officials must immediately inform the relevant health departments about it
• The lists of people in the relief camps (increase/decrease) must be submitted daily to the relevant Region/State health departments
• In collaboration with the relevant health departments, the relief camps must identify the groups that are very likely to be infected with COVID-19, and arrange laboratory testing for them
• The people staying in the relief camps must immediately inform the relevant health departments whenever any health problem arises. They need to know that the Ministry of Health and Sports will provide medical treatment to them free of charge
• Camp officials must cooperate with the Ministry of Health and Sports in order that healthcare services including expanded programme on immunization are successful
• To emphasize environmental cleaning and person hygiene at the relief camps
• To read and adhere to the guidelines and directives of the Ministry of Health and Sports

(2) Guidelines for individuals at the relief camps

• Each person at the relief camp needs to wear face mask in dealing with the other persons within 6 feet in distance not to be infected or transmission of disease to others
• Not to make gatherings and organize events at the camps
• To avoid groups and stay at least 6 feet from each other
• Use disposable tissue paper or cover with the elbow-joint during sneeze and cough. Discard the tissue paper into the garbage bin with cover and then wash hands again
• Wash hands with soap and water at least 20 seconds frequently or clean hands with hand sanitizers in 60 per cent alcohol
• Those who are living in relief camps are (totally) prohibited from going outside the camp or crossing border area without permission. Legal actions will be taken against those who violate this rules.
• If some symptoms of this disease have shown on oneself, go to the nearest healthcare centre immediately

(3) Rules for the local/foreign organizations which are carrying out healthcare services at the relief camps

• The number of persons in the organization must be reported systematically to the state public health department
• They must stay only at their local station of their organizations outside their duty times
• Assign duties to those who were tested negative for COVID-19 after their swabs were examined at the laboratory
• If any member of organization gets ill, they must not be allowed (entirely) for going to the relief camps and must report it to the healthcare centres
• The remaining members need to suspend their works and await to follow the directives of the Ministry of Health and Sports
• Transfer the ill person or the COVID-19 suspected person to the hospital immediately for medical treatment

Ministry of Health and Sports

Appendix

Case Definitions for Surveillance

Suspected case
A patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever, cough and shortness of breath) and a history of travel to or residence in a location reporting community transmission of COVID-19 disease during the 14 days prior to symptom onset
OR
A patient with any acute respiratory illness and having been in contact with a confirmed or probable COVID-19 case in the last 14 days prior to onset of symptoms
OR
A patient with severe acute respiratory illness (fever, cough, shortness of breath; requiring hospitalization) and in the absence of an alternative diagnosis that fully explains the clinical presentation
Probable case
A suspect case for whom testing for the COVID-19 virus is inconclusive. Inconclusive being the result of the test reported by the laboratory
OR
A suspect case for whom testing could not be performed for any reason

Confirmed case
A person with laboratory confirmation of COVID-19 infection, irrespective of clinical signs and symptoms.
Source: WHO – COVID-19 Case Definitions for Surveillance. 20 March 2020

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