The government has issued revised guidance for businesses on how to safely clean and decontaminate areas in non-healthcare settings such as hotel rooms.
The new guidelines detail exactly how exactly to clean an area that may have been contaminated by an individual or group of individuals at risk of contracting the virus.
This will be particularly crucial for hotels currently offering rooms to NHS and key workers, to follow when it is safe to reopen.
The infection risk from coronavirus following contamination of the environment decreases over time. It is not yet clear at what point there is no risk. However, studies of other viruses in the same family suggest that, in most circumstances, the risk is likely to be reduced significantly after 72 hours.
Cleaning an area with normal household disinfectant after someone with suspected Covid-19 has left will reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people and wearing disposable or washing-up gloves and aprons is vital.
Using a disposable cloth to disinfect these surfaces, paying close attention to frequently touched areas and surfaces, such as bathrooms, grab-rails in corridors and stairwells and door handles.
If a risk assessment of the setting indicates that a higher level of virus may be present (for example, where unwell individuals have slept such as a hotel room) or there is visible contamination with body fluids, then the need for additional PPE to protect the cleaner’s eyes, mouth and nose might be necessary.
Public areas where a symptomatic individual has passed through and spent minimal time, such as corridors, but which are not visibly contaminated with body fluids can be cleaned thoroughly as normal.
Use disposable cloths or paper roll and disposable mop heads, to clean all hard surfaces, floors, chairs, door handles and sanitary fittings.
Avoid creating splashes and spray when cleaning and any cloths and mop heads used must be disposed of and should be put into waste bags.
When it comes to laundry, use the warmest water setting and dry items completely. Dirty laundry that has been in contact with an unwell person can be washed with other people’s items.
Do not shake dirty laundry, this minimises the possibility of dispersing virus through the air.
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