Why proper ventilation is important at workplaces, residences during COVID-19 pandemic?

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PUTRAJAYA SEPT.22: The government will implement initiatives to open more economic and social sectors from time to time according to the set phases under the National Recovery Plan (NRP).

Director General of Health, Tan Sri Dr. Noor Hisham Abdullah said, this is a positive sign but at the same time the Government has always stressed that this opening be carried out in a planned manner to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“In this regard, the aspect of ventilation in all types of buildings such as workplaces, business premises, educational institutions; houses of worship including residences are among the important aspects that need to be seen as one of the strategies to achieve the Government’s aspirations,” he said in a statement here today .

He added, in general, there are three types of ventilation available in buildings including business premises and workplace spaces, namely i) Natural ventilation; ii) Air conditioning system without mechanical ventilation (non -centralized air conditioning system); and iii) Air conditioning system with mechanical ventilation (centralized air conditioning system).

Dr. Noor Hisham said, naturally ventilated buildings have a lower risk of transmission of COVID-19 disease and other airborne diseases. This is because the density of the virus hovering in the air allows the effects of infection to be reduced through the air by dilution.

However, if the space uses a natural ventilation system the following should be done; a) Open more than one window or door on the same part/wall (single sided ventilation) if possible, unless the outside air quality is not good such as haze and other air pollution, or the weather conditions outside do not allow; b) Increase cross ventilation by opening windows or doors on opposite sides and make sure the doors in the room are always open; c) Open all windows in the room to increase ventilation and more frequent clean air exchange; and d) Use a fan to help improve indoor air circulation.

Meanwhile for premises or rooms with air-conditioning system without mechanical ventilation (non-centralised air-conditioning system) it is recommended a) To improve indoor ventilation by opening windows to allow more frequent exchange of clean air into the building or premises. Keep windows open small if air conditioning is used; b) Install a fan to improve air movement; c) Install an exhaust fan to improve ventilation and air exchange; and d) It is highly recommended to set the temperature between 23 ° C to 26 ° C.

In addition, other preventive measures should be emphasized as well such as limiting the number of members in a narrow space, ensuring compliance with the wearing of face masks, and maintaining physical incarceration to reduce COVID-19 infection.

Further guidance on ventilation during the COVID-19 pandemic can be obtained from the following sources; WHO Roadmap to Improve and Ensure Good Indoor Ventilation in the Context of COVID-19, March 2021. ( https://www.who.int/publications/i/item/9789240021280 ); and Guidance Note on Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) For Residential/Non-Residential/Public Area Setting During COVID-19 Pandemic) by the Ministry of Human Resources and MOH.( https://www.dosh.gov.my/index.php/ms/ ) –Malaysia World News


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