People with oxygen saturation below 95% not allowed in gyms – india news | Hindustan Times


Exercising in gymnasiums and yoga classes has been prohibited for people with an oxygen saturation level below 95%, according to standard operating procedures (SOPs) released by the health ministry on Monday, two days before the reopening of gyms and yoga schools shut because of the Covid-19 pandemic and ensuing lockdown.

The ministry has directed operators of gyms and yoga schools to provide pulse oximeters to measure the oxygen saturation level of all their members before they start their exercise regimen.

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“…Those having oxygen saturation below 95% should not be allowed to continue exercise. Call central / state helpline / ambulance and refer such persons to the nearest health facility. Ensure availability of pulse oximeters to record oxygen saturation of members prior to the exercise,” read the guidelines.

The health ministry has been releasing such SOPs from time to time, underlining preventive measures needed at public places such as religious shrines, hotels and restaurants where the risk of exposure to the virus is high, to contain the spread of Covid-19.

Many yoga institutes have been making preparations to implement preventive measures needed in Covid-19 times before reopening their premises post the lockdown.

“We used to have a clinic running within our institute wherein all our members would undergo a health check-up once before starting classes; now we will use the facility to medically examine all members before each class. Our instructors and teachers have also been trained to pick up signs of respiratory distress in members while performing exercises. Pulse oximeters and other relevant equipment will also be available within the premises to identify high-risk cases. All guidelines will be followed before we begin classes,” said Dr Ishwar Basavaraddi, director, Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga, ministry of Ayush.

The health ministry has also asked gym and yoga school managers to calculate the maximum capacity per session based on redesigned spaces, and to accordingly schedule a session and inform members.

“We have reduced admissions; instead of 30 members in a hall now we will only run a group session with 8-10 members; and outdoors we used to conduct classes with about 200 people, which will now be reduced to not more than 50 members,”Basavaraddi added.

All spas, sauna, steam bath and swimming pools shall remain closed, as per the ministry.

In order to maintain social distancing effectively, all equipment, including cardio and strength machines, must be placed 6 feet apart.

“For air-conditioning/ventilation, the guidelines of CPWD {central public works department} shall be followed which emphasizes that the temperature setting of all air conditioning devices should be in the range of 24-30o C, relative humidity should be in the range of 40- 70%, intake of fresh air should be as much as possible and cross ventilation should be adequate,” the guidelines say.

Lockers cab remain in use as long as social distancing is maintained.

Gym administrators are in the process of making changes to their set-up to meet the requirements for reopening their facilities.

“We are going through the guidelines to see how best these can be implemented. There is no question of not following the guidelines as safety of our members is our primary concern. We will be making changes accordingly before reopening the gym,” said Chetan Gaur, the main instructor at the Noida Golf Club gym.

All gyms and yoga institutes in containment zones will remain shut, as per the health ministry directive.

“Since containment zones are hotbeds, most activities that may lead to spread of the disease in these areas are still restricted. There is a standard directive for all facilities where people might gather in large numbers, to remain closed in these places,” said a health ministry official, requesting anonymity.