SOPs issued for cattle markets to prevent COVID-19, Congo spread

By Ali Imran

ISLAMABAD: The district magistrate, Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for trading and transportation in cattle markets across the federal capital in wake of COVID-19 pandemic and Congo spread.
Metropolitan Corporation, Islamabad (MCI), District Administration, health department, Ministry of Health Services Regulation and Coordination, was taking necessary measures to prevent and control spread of the communicable diseases, like Cholera, Typhoid Fever, Congo Crimean Hemorrhagic Fever (CCHF) and Respiratory infections.
According to SOPs, the cattle markets should be established at designated points, at least two to five kilometer away from city limits. However the technical working group (TWG) recommended increase in number of cattle markets to manage the rush of traders and customers. The management of cattle markets must ensure controlled entry to the market and the parking area would be marked for distanced parking. Only two people per vehicle would be allowed while the elderly and children would not be allowed to enter into the cattle markets. The markets should ensure provision of hand-hygiene facilities at entry points and multiple spots inside. No person would be allowed to enter without covering the face.
Thermal scanning of staff and visitors at entry points by trained personnel should be ensured. Medical camps with adequate staff, equipment and personal protective equipment would be established at the markets. It further stated that Covid-19 was considered a zoonotic disease though its link with specific animals had not been established yet. The CCHF was a widespread disease caused by a tick-borne virus with a case fatality rate of 10 to 40pc. The veterinary clinic staff would examine any animal reporting these symptoms and if suspect for COVID-19 infection, would ensure immediate isolation of sick animal for further assessment. The information about sick animal and its caretaker would be passed to health department for assessment of health condition of caretakers and his contacts.
The general public was asked to wear light colored full sleeves and trousers for easy detection of ticks on clothes and bite protection. Regularly examine clothing and skin for ticks, if found, remove them safely and use approved repellents on clothing and skin. Food points would be established at dedicated places with only take away services and meal would be served only in disposable utensils. Waste Collection bins with lid would be installed at places near each cattle market for disposal of waste.
The awareness messages would also be displayed in the cattle markets at conspicuous places. Announcements regarding preventive measures and SOPs should be a regular activity throughout the cattle markets. Announcements in local languages were advised. The local Administrations would arrange awareness sessions and seminars with cattle market managements and traders on preventive measures of COVID-19 and Congo Fever in their respective districts.
Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner, Islamabad, Hamza Shafqaat stated that cattle markets would be set up in the federal capital 15 days before Eid-ul-Azha. To a query, he said this year the SOPs were made with more focus and comprehensive approach to mitigate and control the spread of COVID-19 at cattle markets across the city.
Our teams would monitor all the cattle markets,daily, since its establishment till the end of Eid to meet any untoward situation,†he added.