Ministry of Health & Social Protection Issued Resolution to Update the General Biosecurity Measures Set for COVID-19 

by Brigard Urrutia

Published: March, 2021

On February 25, 2021, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection issued Resolution 223 of 2021 (the “Resolution”) to update the general biosecurity measures set for the management of Covid-19 in Colombia.


The main novelties included in this regulation are mentioned below:


1.    Scope


The Resolution extended the scope of the general biosecurity measures to all "social and economic activities carried out by individuals". This means that such measures are not exclusive to employment situations.



2.    Validity of Resolution 666 of 2020


Resolution 666 of 2020 and other biosecurity protocols applicable to certain economic sectors remain in force and should be considered as complemented by Resolution 223 of 2021.


3.    Physical distancing


The concept of "social distance" was changed to "physical distance". The latter must be a minimum of 2 meters between people and will not apply for family groups.


4.    Effective measures for Covid-19 prevention


Among the measures considered most effective in preventing transmission of Covid-19 are: 


-    Adequate ventilation. 
-    Permanent use of masks. 
-    Physical distance. 
-    Frequent hand washing. 
-    Permanent cleaning of surfaces.


5.    Feeding areas


In the workplace, there should be eating areas with the following conditions:


-    Ensure physical distancing of at least 2 meters (especially between chairs).
-    As far as possible, the areas should be open-air and well ventilated.


In these areas, employees/contractors may only remove their masks to eat food.


6.    Personal Protection Equipment (PPE)


The following should be considered regarding PPE:


-    The ARL shall provide advice to its affiliated companies to define the necessary PPE for employees. The above shall be carried out in coordination with those individuals responsible for the Occupational Safety and Health Management System (OSHMS) in the companies.


-    Employers and contracting parties shall provide regular training on the use and removal of PPE.


7.    Masks


-    Masks should be worn permanently in the workplace.
-    The same mask can be worn for a maximum of 8 hours (not a full day), provided it is not dirty, broken, or wet.
-    It is advisable that the elderly and/or people with co-morbidities use surgical masks.


8.    Work organization alternatives


As far as possible, employers should continue to promote the following alternatives: 


-    Remote work. 
-    Flexible working schedules. 
-    Limiting the number of employees in the workplace.


Employees with co-morbidities or pre-existing conditions may perform remote and/or on-site work. In the latter case, they should do so by adopting special protection measures and after a medical examination.


9.    Additional measures


-    Avoid people entering the workplace with temperatures equal to or higher than 38°C.


-    When the transport is provided by the company, it must be ensured that the vehicle keeps the windows partially or totally open permanently.


-    Continuous training. About the ways of preventing Covid-19, the risk factors and places, the recognition of symptoms, hand washing, the procedure in case of infection with the virus, etc.


-    Isolation for 10 days. The isolation of persons who test positive will be for 10 days unless medical criteria deem necessary to extend this period.


-    Communicate to the ARL about positive cases of Covid-19 in the Company.


-    Employee's duty to promote biosecurity measures in their homes and families.


10.    Measures to be suspended


-    Use of disinfectant mats. 


-    Disinfection of wheels and/or shoes.


 



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