[FAQ] How To Clean & Disinfect A COVID19 Infected Ship!

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As the COVID19 pandemic wreaks havoc around the world shutting down ciities and halting trade, shipping is experiencing major disruptions. To safegurad the health and sanctity of seafarers and shippers, the MPA has issued a detailed guideline on how to clean and disinfect your ships.

What is it?

Here’s what the Interim Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Areas Exposed to Confirmed Case(s) of COVID-19 in Non-Healthcare Premises says: 

This document provides guidance by the Ministry of Health (MOH) and the National Environment Agency (NEA), of Singapore, to assist owners or operators of non-healthcare premises to carry out environmental cleaning, for areas exposed to confirmed case(s) of Coronavirus Diseases (COVID-19) in non-healthcare premises.

This will apply to premises where a confirmed case has resided or has been present for a
substantial period of time.
For areas with only transient exposure to confirmed cases, please refer to the “Interim Guidelines for Environmental Cleaning and Disinfection of Areas with Transient Exposure to Confirmed Case(s) of COVID-19″.

This is an interim guidance, as transmission dynamics for the COVID-19 are yet to be fully
determined. This document has been adapted from guidance documents from the Ministry of Health (MOH), Singapore and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Cleaning agents and disinfectants

  • As the virus can survive on surfaces of different materials for at least 2 to 3 days, surfaces potentially contaminated with novel coronavirus should be sanitized.
  • An appropriate disinfectant with an indication of effectiveness against coronaviruses can be used. Disinfectants should be prepared and applied in accordance with the manufacturers’ recommendation. Ensure that appropriate contact time is given before removing any disinfected materials. Please refer to the “Interim List of Household Products and Active Ingredients for Disinfection of COVID-19 Virus” for a list of disinfectants that can be used.
  • Bleach can be used as a disinfectant for cleaning and disinfection (dilute 1 part bleach in 49 parts water, 1000 ppm or according to manufacturer’s instructions). Bleach solutions should be prepared fresh. Leaving the bleach solution for a contact time of at least 10 minutes is recommended.
  • Alcohol can be used to wipe down surfaces where the use of bleach is not suitable, e.g. metal.

 Protective Personal Equipment (PPE) While Cleaning

  • Wear disposable gloves, disposable long-sleeved gowns, eye goggles or a face shield, and an N95 mask.
  • Avoid touching the nose and mouth (goggles may help as they will prevent hands from touching eyes).
  • Gloves should be removed and discarded if they become soiled or damaged, and a new pair wore.
  •  All other disposable PPE should be removed and discarded after cleaning activities are completed.
  • Eye goggles, if used, should be disinfected after each use, according to the  manufacturer’s instructions.
  • When in doubt, refer to guidance documents for the proper donning and doffing of PPE
  • Hands should be washed with soap and water immediately after each piece of PPE is removed, following completion of cleaning.

N.B.: Masks are effective if worn according to instructions and properly fitted. Masks should be discarded and changed if it becomes physically damaged.

Cleaning guidelines for areas exposed to confirmed case(s) of COVID-19 in nonhealthcare premises

  1. Where possible, seal off areas where the confirmed case has visited, before carrying out cleaning and disinfection of the contaminated environmental surfaces. This is to prevent unsuspecting persons from being exposed to those surfaces.
  2.  When cleaning areas where a confirmed case has been, cleaning crews should be attired in suitable PPE (see Section B above). Gloves should be removed and discarded if they become soiled or damaged, and a new pair worn. All other disposable PPE should be removed and discarded, after cleaning activities are completed. Goggles, if used, should be disinfected after each use, according to manufacturer’s instructions. Hands should be washed with soap and water immediately after the PPE is removed.
  3. Keep cleaning equipment to a minimum.
  4. Keep windows open for ventilation, where workers are using disinfectants.
  5. Mop floor with disinfectant or the prepared bleach solution.
  6. Wipe all frequently touched areas (e.g. lift buttons, hand rails, doorknobs, arm rests, seat backs, tables, air/ light controls, keyboards, switches, etc.) and toilet surfaces with chemical disinfectants (use according to manufacturer’s instructions) and allow to air dry. Bleach solution (dilute 1 part bleach in 49 parts water, 1000 ppm or according to manufacturer’s instructions) can be used. Alcohol (e.g. isopropyl 70% or ethyl alcohol 70%) can be used for surfaces, where the use of bleach is not suitable.
  7. Clean toilets, including the toilet bowl and accessible surfaces in the toilet with disinfectant or bleach solution.
  8. Wipe down all accessible surfaces of walls as well as blinds with disinfectant or bleach solution.
  9.  Remove curtains/ fabrics/ quilts for washing, preferably using the hot water cycle. For hot-water laundry cycles, wash with detergent or disinfectant in water at 70ºC for at least 25 minutes. If lowtemperature (i.e. less than 70ºC) laundry cycles are used, choose a chemical that is suitable for low-temperature washing when used at the proper concentration.
  10. Arrange for a cleaning contractor to properly disinfect the mattresses, pillows, cushions or carpets hat have been used by the person who has been confirmed to have the COVID-19.
  11. Repeat mopping the floor with the prepared disinfectant or bleach solution.
  12. Discard cleaning equipment made of cloths and absorbent materials, e.g. mop head and wiping cloths, into biohazard bags after cleaning and disinfecting each area. Wear a new pair of gloves and fasten the double-bagged biohazard bag with a cable tie.
  13. Disinfect non-porous cleaning equipment used in one room, before using for other rooms. If possible, keep the disinfecting equipment separated from other routine equipment.
  14. Disinfect buckets by soaking in disinfectant or bleach solution, or rinse in hot water before filling.
  15. 15. Discard equipment made of cloths/ absorbent materials (e.g. mop head and wiping cloths) after cleaning each area, to prevent cross contamination.
  16. Disinfectant or bleach solution should be applied to surfaces using a damp cloth. They should not be applied to surfaces using a spray pack, as coverage is uncertain, and spraying may promote the production of aerosols. The creation of aerosols caused by splashing liquid during cleaning should be avoided. A steady sweeping motion should be used when cleaning either floors or horizontal surfaces, to prevent the creation of aerosols or splashing. Cleaning methods that might aerosolize infectious material, such as the use of compressed air, must not be used.
  17. Leave the disinfected area and avoid using the area the next day.
  18. biohazard bags should be properly disposed of upon completion of the disinfection work.

Post Clean-up Precautions 

  • Cleaning crews should wash their hands with soap and water immediately after removing the PPE, and when cleaning and disinfection work is completed.
  • Discard all used PPE in a double-bagged biohazard bag, which should then be securely sealed and labelled.
  • The crew should be aware of the symptoms and should report to their occupational health service if they develop symptoms.

List of cleaning companies that can carry out disinfection works

If you are not able to adhere to the suggested disinfection methods above, you may wish to consider engaging the following cleaning company to carry out disinfection works:

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Source: MPA

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