The COVID-19 Virus is part of the larger Coronavirus family which are responsible for causing illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS -CoV).
Common signs of infection include:
In more severe cases the infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and death. Severe symptoms are more likely to affect people with weakened immune systems, older people and those with pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease and chronic lung disease.
The UK Chief Medical Officers have raised the risk to the public to moderate, however the risk of catching COVID-19 depends on where you live or where you have travelled recently. Risk of catching it within the workplace is considered low at this stage.
However, employers have a role to play in preventing the spread of the disease by taking sensible action to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as ensuring that workers have access to appropriate hygiene facilities, such as hot water, soap and suitable bins for used tissues, etc.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) have advised that workers maintain good hygiene standards around the workplace.
The WHO website includes the following basic protective measures:
(This should be done for a minimum of 20 seconds. Roughly how long it takes to sing “Happy Birthday” twice in a row.)
(Cough or sneeze into a clean tissue, dispose of tissue immediately into a suitable bin. If you do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into your upper forearm/elbow if necessary. Not into your hands. Always clean your hands after coughing or sneezing.)
The National Health Service (NHS) has advised that most people can continue to go to work, school and other public places, and that self-isolation is only to be undertaken if the individual is advised to do so by the 111 online coronavirus service or a medical professional.
Emergency planning advice:
We advise that businesses follow good practice in emergency planning, preparedness and response by closely following the advice being offered by the UK Government, the NHS and ACAS by following the links below
Think about adopting the following steps:
UK GOVERNMENT https://www.gov.uk
Latest UK.Gov information https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-information-for-the-public
Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/coronavirus-covid-19-list-of-guidance
COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19
Coronavirus action plan https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-action-plan
NHS COVID-19 Overview https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/
NHS COVID-19 Common Questions https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/common-questions/
ACAS Coronavirus: advice for employers and employees https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=NTL%20March%202020&utm_content=NTL%20March%202020+CID_a337abeb5d76e5366836ea87874b6b0c&utm_source=Acas%20National%20Email%20Marketing%20Live&utm_term=handling%20coronavirus%20at%20work