Dubai: More than a million students went back to school on Sunday, and a number of nannies were right by their side.
While schools have adopted preventive measures to ensure the children’s safety, such as teachers and administrative staff required to undergo PCR tests for COVID-19, the Ministry of Human Resources and Emiratisation (MoHRE) also stressed the need for parents to ensure the safety of their live-in help.
The guidelines, issued previously by the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), stated “domestic helpers should refrain from meeting anyone outside the home,” as they could be interacting with social acquaintances in an environment where prevention guidelines are not observed. This could put domestic workers at a high risk of catching coronavirus from that group and spreading it further.
The authority further stressed that they should be provided with the necessary protective equipment if they need to interact with people from outside, which includes face masks, gloves and hand sanitisers.
Receiving delivery services
Domestic workers should also be advised on the necessary precautions to follow in the event of receiving any parcels or goods from delivery services. Although health experts at the World Health Organisation (WHO) and US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention say the risks are very low for COVID-19 to remain on envelopes or packages and infect anyone who handles them, they still recommended to wash hands thoroughly and regularly, and to avoid touching the face after handling deliveries.
According to the Abu Dhabi Agriculture and Food Safety Authority (ADAFSA), residents should refrain from using plastic plates and bowls provided by restaurants and cafeterias, and suggested that personal plates be used instead.
“Once the meal is finished and cleared away, all contents should be thrown away immediately and the dustbin should be sterilised, in addition to all surfaces that were in contact with the food or the delivery bag,” read the guidelines. After completing these procedures, hands should be washed for at least 20 seconds before eating the meal.
“Avoid keeping delivered meals in the refrigerator or the pantry, and store them in your own dishware. All surfaces that were in contact with the plastic plates or cutlery should also be disinfected and sterilised,” said ADAFSA.
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International best practices
Since the start of COVID-19 pandemic, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) has issued several precautionary measures for both domestic workers and employers.
“Dear domestic worker, during the COVID-19 crisis, pay extra attention to washing your hands before and after preparing food as well as taking care of the elderly or family members with illnesses or special needs. During the COVID-19 crisis, stay at home as much as possible to help reduce the spread of the virus. If you have to go out; keep a safe distance from others, do not touch your face, and regularly wash your hands with soap or alcohol based sanitisers,” said the ILO.
The international organisation pointed out that it is the responsibility of employers to provide their domestic worker with hand sanitiser, masks and gloves, especially when carrying out cleaning tasks with strong cleaning products. “Hygiene at home is important, so is their health and safety. Please remember the importance of your domestic worker’s mental and emotional health, as well as physical well-being,” it added.