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Chapter 3: General guidelines on prevention of communicable diseases

Guidelines on Prevention of Communicable Diseases in Schools/Kindergartens/Kindergartens-cum-Child Care Centres/Child Care Centres 

Chapter 3
General guidelines on prevention of communicable diseases

Prevention of communicable diseases should be considered in various aspects including personal hygiene,

food hygiene,

environmental hygiene

and vaccination.

Personal hygiene includes hand and respiratory hygiene.

Hand hygiene is very important for preventing the spread of communicable diseases as many are transmitted through contact.

The following areas inside schools and centres

such as toilets




and art room

Liquid soap

disposable paper towels

or hand dryers should be provided

Wherever hand washing facilities are not available, 70-80% alcohol-based handrub should be provided.

Generally speaking, when hands are visibly soiled or likely contaminated with body fluids, handwashing with liquid soap and water is required

When there is no visible dirt on the hands, 70-80% alcohol-based handrub can be used.

Perform hand hygiene in the following situations

before touching eyes,

nose and mouth,

before eating and handling food,

after using the toilet,

when hands may be contaminated by body fluids such as after changing diaper for a young child, handling blood or articles soiled with body fluids,

when hands are contaminated by respiratory secretions such as after coughing or sneezing,

after touching public installations or facilities such as escalator handrail,
lift buttons

and door knobs 

Respiratory Hygiene

No spitting

Cover nose and mouth with tissue paper when coughing or sneezing. Wrap up respiratory secretions with tissue paper

and then discard into a garbage bin with a lid

or flush it away in the toilet

and wash hands immediately.

Person with symptoms of respiratory infection

should wear a mask to prevent the spread of germs

Food Hygiene covers three aspects: choosing, preparing and storing food.

Buy fresh food

or prepackaged food which is labelled, within expiry date and has intact packaging.

Don¡¦t overstock food to avoid prolonged storage.

When handling raw and cooked food,

separate knives and chopping boards should be used to prevent cross contamination.

Wash hands properly after handling raw food

Do not handle cooked food with bare hands

Wear mask, washable or disposable apron and cap when handling cooked food

Wounds on hands should be covered with waterproof dressing

Staff should not handle food if suffering from illnesses such as fever, diarrhoea and vomiting

Store food in well-covered containers. Perishable food should be stored in refrigerator immediately after purchase.

Milk prepared in advance

should be stored in a refrigerator at or below 4¢J to prevent germ growth.

It should be discarded if still not consumed  after 24 hours.

Each refrigerator should be equipped with a thermometer and has the temperatures recorded regularly.  Keep the temperature inside the refrigerator at or below 4¢J and the freezer compartment at or below -18¢J

Besides, it should be cleansed at regular intervals.

Germs can survive in the environment for a period of time. Therefore, environmental hygiene is also very important.

When choosing a disinfectant, check its contents and directions for use

Household bleach containing 5.25% sodium hypochlorite is the most convenient and effective disinfectant. 1 in 99 diluted household bleach is adequate for general cleaning purposes.

It could be used to clean and disinfect school premises including classrooms, kitchens, canteens, toilets, bathrooms and school buses, etc

Leave the bleach for 15-30 minutes, and then rinse with water and wipe dry

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces such as furniture, toys and commonly shared items, such as door knobs, hand rails and computer keyboards at least daily

Since household bleach contains sodium hypochlorite

which is corrosive to metal

Use 70% alcohol

to disinfect metallic surfaces

If contaminated by respiratory secretions, vomitus or excreta,

wipe the visible dirt away with highly absorbent disposable towels first

Then, disinfect the surface and 2-meter neighboring areas with 1 in 49 diluted household bleach

Leave the bleach for 15-30 minutes, then rinse with water and wipe dry.

Blood-stained articles should be wiped with highly absorbent disposable towels dipped in 1 in 4 diluted household bleach.

Leave the bleach for 10 minutes, then rinse with water and wipe dry.

Clean regularly air conditioners

and filters

Kitchen is the place where food is handled. It should be kept clean at all times

Exhaust fans and range hoods should be cleaned regularly

Eating utensils should be stored properly in clean cupboards

Worktops should be kept clean

Floor should also be kept dry after cleaning

Don¡¦t place any clothes or personal items in the kitchen.

The garbage bins should be covered properly

to prevent breeding of mosquitoes, cockroaches, flies, rats, etc

Toilets, changing rooms and bathrooms should be kept clean. Ensure flushing system of the toilets is functioning properly.

Drain pipes should be installed with U-shaped water traps. Don¡¦t attempt any unauthorized alteration.
Pour about half a litre of water into each drain outlet once a week so as to maintain the water column in the pipe. 

Ensure soil pipes and sewage drains are functioning properly without any leakage

Clean handwashing basins

and toilet bowls regularly

Rubbish should be wrapped up and discarded in garbage bins with lids.

Wash hands immediately after handling garbage.

Floor mops and wipers should be handled carefully.

Used cleaning utensils should be rinsed with water to remove solid and bulky waste

Then, immerse them into 1 in 49 diluted household bleach

for 30 minutes. Wash with clean water afterwards. Reuse after thoroughly dried.

Maintain at least 1-meter distance between children¡¦s beds

Inspect and clean children¡¦s lockers regularly for food remnants, so as to prevent breeding of pests and rats.

Clean immediately if there are any signs of pest or rodent infestation

Empty water in saucers underneath flower pots and change water in vases at least once a week

Top up defective ground surfaces, so as to prevent accumulation of stagnant water and breeding of mosquitoes
Avoid stacking of articles in schools and centres, in order to prevent rodent infestation

It is not advisable to keep pets like cats, dogs, birds, etc in schools and centres.

Vaccination is important for prevention of communicable diseases. Parents should be reminded to have their children vaccinated according to the Childhood Immunisation Programme recommended by CHP.