Ministerial Agreement 146-2020: National Strategy for Control of Epidemic of SARS COV-2 and Conditioned of Confinement  

The Ministry of Public Health has published changes in the strategy to be followed for the eventual de-escalation of the confinement measures to be followed, repealing agreement 144-2020.


Among the measures it establishes, the Ministry looks for the rapid, extensive and regional availability of tests, in conjunction with the IGSS and private hospitals, must increase the capacity to carry out tests and coordinate with the IGSS and with private hospitals to strengthen the epidemiological investigation capacity. It also establishes that it will develop a platform for the integration of information on infections that will allow it to carry out a greater epidemiological investigation, and to implement the hiring of trackers, for epidemiological investigation by sector.


Along with these measures, the Ministry has defined the 4 phases of de-escalation. These will be by territories, the entire country should not be under the same phase and may be passed dynamically and asymmetrically, always monitoring the state of the disease within each territory.


PHASE 0: PREPARATION FOR DE-ESCALATION


Will allow movement of people outside their residencies and relaxation of confinement measures.


Conditions that must be met to proceed to this phase:


- Decrease of new COVID-19 cases within 14 days;


- Decrease of suspected cases of COVID-19 within 14 days;


- Decrease in the proportion of positive tests for COVID-19, to less than 20% positivity, within 14 days;


- Decrease in the occupation of critical care hospital beds to less than 80%;


- Availability of personal protective equipment for health personnel for 5 days;


PHASE I: START OF DE-ESCALATION


Partial opening of economic activities and work centers such as trade and counter services, restaurants and cafes, professional sports activities and tourist accommodation without the use of common areas.


Conditions that must be met to proceed to this phase: 


- Decrease of new cases of COVID-19 within 14 days, after entering Phase 0;


- Decrease of suspected cases of COVID-19 within 14 days, after entering phase 0;


- Decrease in the proportion of positive tests for COVID-19, to less than 15% positivity, within 14 days after entering phase 0;


- Decrease in saturation of critical care hospital beds to less than 75%;


- Availability of personal protective equipment for health personnel for 10 days;


 


PHASE II: INTERMEDIATE OPENING


Opening of shops and work centers that were restricted in phase I.


Conditions that must be met to proceed to this phase:


 - Decrease of new cases, or zero incidence, of COVID-19 within 14 days after entering phase I;


- Decrease of COVID-19 within 14 days after entering phase I;


- Decrease in the proportion of positive tests for COVID-19, to less than 10% positivity, within 14 days, after entering phase I;


- Decrease in saturation of critical care hospital beds to less than 70%;


- Availability of personal protective equipment for health personnel for 15 days;


PHASE III:  OPENING TO THE NEW NORMAL


Opening of all economic activities and work centers, maintaining security measures and social distancing.


Conditions that must be met to proceed to this phase:


- Decrease of new cases, or zero incidence, of COVID-19 within 14 days after entering phase II;


- Decrease of suspected cases of COVID-19 within 14 days after entering phase II;


- Decrease or zero percentage, in the proportion of positive tests for COVID-19, to less than 10% positivity, within 14 days;


- Decrease in saturation of critical care hospital beds to less than 70%;



Employers who consider the gradual reopening of their activities, following the de-escalation phases, must follow the specific guidelines that the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance and other competent authorities publish, in addition to the following regulations:


  • Registration of the company, organization or workplace in the Public Health District, through the electronic platformdeveloped for the collection of information on the protocols and health activities of the workplace;
  • - Classification of employees in high risk and low risk. The following shall be considered as high-risk employees: (i) those over sixty years of age; (ii) pregnant women; or, (iii) people suffering from chronic lung disease, severe asthma, high blood pressure, severe heart conditions, innmunodeficiency, severe obesity, diabetes, chronic liver disease and / or chronic kidney disease requiring dialysis.
  • - Employees must report these conditions voluntarily, and the employer must not inquire beyond the reporting of risk conditions.

 The following minimum standards for the prevention of virus transmission are also established: 


- Implementation of social distancing measures within work centers, allowing the separation of at least 1.5 meters of distance between employees and between consumers. When this is not possible, there must be physical barriers that minimize contact;


- Have appropriate cleaning stations for hand sanitizing (either with water and soap or alcohol gel of at least 60%);


- Universal, consistent and appropriate use of cloth masks in the workplace;


- Protection of high-risk employees, through the implementation of: (i) remote work; (ii) change of responsibilities that minimize contact with clients and other employees; (iii) decrease in transportation, travel and transfers;


- Implementation of a screening system for employees at the beginning of each working day, to evaluate suspicious symptoms and measure the temperature of employees (the agreement defines screening as "the use of simple criteria for the identification of individuals who present suspicious symptoms related to COVID-19”);


- Ensure the use of supplies approved by the Guidelines of the Ministry of Public Health and Social Assistance to disinfect the working space;


- Appoint one or more monitors in the workplace who answer questions about COVID-19 and who are responsible for compliance with internal prevention policies;


- Implement sickness absence policies, including a report of absenteeism, the causes and the period in which you were absent;


- In case a positive or suspicious case of COVID-19 is detected:


  • Mandatory report to the Public Health District;
  • It must have an internal policy for the transportation of sick or suspicious people, following health protocols;
  • Closure for 24 hours of areas in which the employee suspected of being ill would have used until they are disinfected;

- Employees confirmed to have COVID-19, whether symptomatic or asymptomatic, should not return to work until they have met the criteria to discontinue isolation;


- The COVID-19 tests must be carried out by the Ministry of Health, the Guatemalan Social Security Institute, or in the event that the worker has private insurance as an additional benefit, he may make use of it.


Freelancers must establish the following measures:


  • - Strengthen the use of social distancing measures that allow the physical separation of at least 1.5 meters between the worker and his clients;
  • - Regular and appropriate cleaning during the interaction with clients (water and soap or alcohol gel of at least 60%);
  • - Universal, consistent and appropriate use of cloth masks during the provision of services;
  • - The detection test will be the responsibility of the Ministry of Health or the private insurance company of the freelancer; 

Public transport must continue with the following measures:


  • - Strengthen the use of social distancing measures that allow physical separation between passengers of at least 1.5 meters;
  • - Regular and appropriate cleaning during interaction with passengers (water and soap or alcohol gel of at least 60%);
  • - Cleaning and disinfection of transport units, using appropriate disinfectants, before and after completing a route;
  • - Universal, constant and appropriate use of non-surgical masks during the provision of the service, both for pilots and passengers.

None of the provisions of the above-mentioned agreement may involve acts of discrimination in access and permanence in the working place, while respecting fundamental rights at all times.


 


 

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