On the last day of 2019, a handful of mysterious illnesses surfaced in the vast central city of China. In no time, this critical illness caused by Coronavirus or COVID 19 travelled to the various corners of the world. Moving from animals to humans and from complications to international headlines, the entire world needs a brief about preventive measures for Coronavirus by now.
The number of people affected by the novel Coronavirus has reached tens of thousands already. And which is not contained within China’s borders but also beyond international boundaries & with a death toll of over 3,000 lives in a few months. Additionally, it led to unmatched quarantines, stock market disruption, and dangerous conspiracy theories.
According to health officials, the virus has recently spread throughout India. While the country and its health-care system are doing everything possible to combat the virus, a lot about its preventive measures is still unknown to the masses. How to prevent, counter and quarantine those who are infected, is still not clear on the broader horizon.
What is Coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that range from the common cold to more severe diseases, reports the WHO. The virus causes a disease termed as COVID-19. The disease can infect humans as well as animals.
The virus originated in Wuhan and is similar to two other coronaviruses that caused a major epidemic in recent years: the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS) and severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS).
The coronavirus symptoms are different from one patient to another and may also vary in severity. An infected person could suffer from respiratory problems, kidney failure, fluid buildup in the lungs, or pneumonia.
How does coronavirus spread?
When a person infected with coronavirus sneezes or coughs, they release an infected fluid. If they are not wearing a mask or forget to hold a tissue paper, droplets release into the air. These droplets of the infected fluid fall on surrounding surfaces.
The surface can be anything, ranging from desks, laptops, staircase railings, keyboards, telephones, or any other objects. When other people touch these contaminated surfaces and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth, they are at the risk of getting infected.
People can also catch the virus if they are standing at a distance of less than one metre from a person with COVID-19. This is because they breathe in the droplets exhaled or released. Simply put, coronavirus spreads in the same way as flu.
Many COVID-19 infected persons suffer mild symptoms and recover. Some suffer from more acute illnesses and require hospitalization. The risk of serious illness is more in people above the age of 40. Moreover, people with a weak immune system along with those inflicted with a heart or lung disease and diabetes are more vulnerable
Why take preventive measures for coronavirus?
WHO and other public health authorities around the world are trying to control the spread of COVID-19. The disease, however, spreads from one person to another. Therefore, if long-term success wants to be achieved, all sections of the society need to make their contributions.
Businesses, schools, and employers have an important role to play. They interact with several lives at one point in time and must do all that is possible to stop the disease’s spread.
How to get your workplace ready for COVID-19?
Currently, there is no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease. Healthcare practitioners and organizations suggest that you can prevent the illness by not exposing yourself to the virus.
Here are some preventive measures for coronavirus that can help restrict the spread of infections in your workplace:
1) Clean everything at regular intervals
One of the primary ways in which COVID-19 spreads is through contaminated surfaces.
When employees and customers touch these surfaces, they are susceptible to infection.
Remember to wipe desks, tables, keyboards, mobile phones, any other surfaces, and objects regularly using a disinfectant.
2) Wash your hands
Washing hands helps to kill the virus. Keep soaps, hand wash, and alcohol based sanitizers in prominent places in the workplace. Encourage your employees to wash hands as soon as they enter the premises.
They must also wash their hands after meals, in between meetings, and when they use other equipment.
3) Use tissues
If employees are suffering from a runny nose or cough, ensure that they are wearing face masks. Place paper tissues at easily accessible places with closed bins for easy disposal. Keep distance from such individuals and refrain from making physical contact until absolutely necessary.
4) Avoid business trips
The virus has spread throughout the world. Therefore, employees must seek national travel advice before heading out for business trips.
If there are any chances of risk, the trip must be postponed or replaced with an online meeting.
5) Work at home
Inform employees that they must stay at home if COVID-19 starts spreading in the community. May it be in the area of the workplace or the area of the employee’s residence, those experiencing even the slightest of symptoms should isolate themselves and the ones around them should take immediate preventive measures for Corona virus at home.
6) If unwell, rest
Employees with a mild cough, cold, or low-grade fever must stay at home. Coronavirus spreads from one person to another through respiratory droplets released while sneezing or coughing. If sick employees do attend work, they must always wear a mask to prevent further contamination of the environment.
Moreover, tell them to cover their face with a tissue or the bend of their elbow when they cough or sneeze.
7) Maintain hygiene
Promote hygiene and general awareness about Corona virus with the help of posters at workplaces. Combine this with other tools of communication like emails, drills and conduct briefings to offer guidance by safety and occupational health officers. A comprehensive guide to preventive measures should be circulated among all employees, stating the do’s and don’ts in such a scenario.
8) Prefer online meetings
Avoid face-to-face meetings or public conferences if it is possible. If necessary, consider choosing a place that is less crowded and more hygienic. Better if you can replace such an interaction with a teleconference or a video conference, hence eliminating the prospect of contamination if any.
9) Prepare a response plan
Prepare a response plan in case one of your employees becomes sick. If you notice anyone with the symptoms, you must have a separate room to safely isolate them. Please have a certified medical expert brief your employees about such procedures and isolation measures while dealing with such a person.
10) Reorganize your workplace setting
Try to maintain social distancing between employees. This is particularly true for employees or anyone who is sneezing or coughing. Place chairs at a distance of about 1 metre so that employees are not close to those suffering from symptoms of Coronavirus.
Conclusively, employers must start adopting preventive measures for Coronavirus illness at their workplace right away. Irrespective of whether COVID-19 has arrived in the communities or not, such a proactive and preventive approach can protect your employees, contractors, and customers from any possible Coronavirus related contingency.
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