The Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare on Wednesday released guidelines for safe ENT practice amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
It said that the guidelines are aimed at minimising the spread of Covid-19 infection among ENT doctors, nursing staff, support staff, patients and their attendants.
According to the guidelines, all patients entering the ENT OPD shall be thermal screened.
The ministry said that Covid-19 positive patients are to be operated only for emergency indications in designated operation theatres for COVID patients.
Patients having symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 pertaining to both ENT symptoms or respiratory symptoms, should be seen in a separate Covid-19 screening clinic and not in the ENT OPD, it said.
The Health Ministry also suggested that teleconsultation will be preferable.
"Avoid performing endoscopy (nasal endoscopy, 90 rigid or flexible endoscopy for larynx) in routine OPD," it said, adding even if this has to be performed, it should preferably be performed in a separate demarcated area with Level II PPE kit i.e. Cover-all gown, N-95 mask, gloves and goggles.
The Health Ministry said that the COVID suspect patients should be treated in a separate ward for Covid-19 patients, and should be shifted to ENT ward only after confirmation of COVID negative status while it must be ensured that suspected and confirmed COVID patients are kept separately.