Covid-19: Ventilation, indoor air quality guide released to reduce airborne transmission


PETALING JAYA: The Human Resources Ministry has released a ventilation and indoor air quality guide for the public to reduce the airborne transmission of Covid-19.

The ministry said through the Occupational Safety and Health Department (DOSH), it has developed a ventilation and indoor air quality guide that can be used during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The guide was developed by the Technical Committee that is headed by the DOSH Chemical Management Division director.

The committee consists of indoor air quality specialists, representatives of the Health Ministry, Institute of Medical Research (IMR), Public Works Department (JKR), Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) as well as Malaysia chapter of the American Society of Heating Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (MASHRAE).

“The objective of this guide is to inform the public about the methods to improve ventilation and indoor air quality in the workplace, health facilities, as well as housing and public places to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission by air.

“This guide should be referenced together with the standard operating procedures (SOP) released by the National Security Council (NSC) and other control measures to reduce the spread of the virus, ” it said in a statement on Tuesday (July 13).

According to the ministry, the guide is developed based on the Indoor Air Quality Industry Code of Practice 2010 released by DOSH and an equivalent document that is released by authorities in other countries and international organisations including the World Health Organisation.

“This guide has four settings, which applies to premises that have a mechanical ventilation and a Motor Vehicle Air Conditioning (MVAC) system, air conditioning without fresh air and natural ventilation.

“This is one of the steps which should be implemented to help reduce the transmission of the virus through the air, ” it said.

Among the advice suggested in this guide, the ministry said includes improving ventilation rates, reducing the number of inhabitants in a building, opening windows or doors, using air purifiers and increasing the fresh air intake from outside the building.

“More detailed suggestions include using an air filter that has a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or 14, or a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter, increasing air exchanges and by using fans.

“Apart from that, physical parameters specified in the ICOP IAQ 2010 has to ensure that the acceptable range is with a temperature of between 23 and 26 degrees Celsius and has a relative humidity of 40 to 70%, ” it said.

The guide and the infographic have been approved by the NSC on July 8.

“The ministry hopes that all parties will use this guide in an effort to curb and break the chain of infection as well as to increase compliance towards the MCO SOPs for the sake of the economy, social and welfare of the workers, especially the employers and the people in this country, ” it said.

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