Last updated on March 17, 2020
March 11th, Wednesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) has officially declared that Coronavirus Disease also known as COVID-19 a pandemic as it already dominated almost half the globe in an ever-increasing rate.
“We have rung the alarm bell loud and clear,” WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stated during the declaration.
He also stated that it is paramount for all the people across the globe, especially healthcare experts to work in unison matched with doubled aggressiveness to prevent and mitigate this one common enemy as well as look out for each other.
“We also believe that this is the first pandemic that is able to be controlled.” Dr. Tedros added.
According to Worldometer, as of March 16, 2020, there are 169,552 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the globe with 6,516 deaths in a span of a few months, outpacing the SARS epidemic in the 2000s.
Although it is saddening to think that these numbers will eventually increase in the succeeding days, thankfully the WHO and all healthcare departments affected by COVID-19 are trying their best in order to nullify this threat. At the time of this writing, 77,753 individuals have successfully recovered from this disease.
This just proves that working together is vital. With COVID-19 still gaining traction, here is a short, handy guide together with low-cost countermeasures intended for companies in order to protect their employees, stay healthy and maintain an infection-free workplace.
COVID-19 spreads when an infected individual cough, sneezes and exhales. When they do, they release droplets of infected fluid. These droplets then fall on nearby surfaces such as tables, telephones, keyboards, lavatories, and biometric scanners. Unsuspecting individuals could catch the virus by simply touching the contaminated areas or objects — and then touch their nose, eyes, and mouth. Contamination on surfaces touched by employees is one main reason why COVID-19 spreads so fast. Also, COVID-19 can be transferred just by simply standing a meter away from an infected person as one could catch the droplets of infectious fluid that the infected person exhales. Basically it is like the flu, but more lethal.
In order to prevent the spread from happening, company leaders should implement a way to ensure that proper hygiene and cleaning is practiced by each and every employee within the company’s premises. Make sure that every surface is being wiped with disinfectant (and if possible) every time after use.
It is also important to advise every employee to practice regular and thorough hand washing using disinfectant hand soaps and gels. Distribute hand sanitizers in every department around the company building. This can be reinforced by adding another layer of awareness through general announcements, posters, and emails. Generally, proper handwashing kills viruses which prevent COVID-19 from spreading.
And just in case the virus has spread or started spreading within the community, it is important to cascade the news to every employee through different communication channels. WHO also advises company leaders to do round checking on all employees to check on their conditions. Should an individual have a cough, even a mild one, or a low-grade fever (usually 37.6 °C or above) they should be sent home immediately and be advised to stay home and recover.
Keep in mind to always prepare lots of medications such as paracetamols, ibuprofen together with face masks (n95 Masks if available) that can effectively prevent the spread of infections.
It is important for employers to think of the risks of organizing or conducting a meeting during the pandemic. There is a high risk that people who will be present in the meeting or event might unknowingly be carrying the virus and spread it to other unsuspecting members.
Should an attendee have been suspected as a carrier, they should be immediately sent to the nearest healthcare facility to seek medical treatments.
Before conducting a meeting or organizing an event, it is essential to seek the latest advice from local healthcare authorities where they plan to conduct the event regarding the presence of the virus.
Another great way to be safe is to replace face-to-face meetings with over-the-web meetings. If possible, scaling down the volume of attendees is recommended as well. Just like the usual office operation, it is a must to ensure that all the right medical equipment and supply will suffice to address the needs of all attendees as well as the right practice of regular handwashing.
Next, make sure that each and every attendee, from the organizer, participant, caterer, to the visitor should provide their contact details just in case trouble emerges.
Remember to do these measures before, during, and after events and meetings.
The cancellation of some international affiliate events such as the Mobile World Congress last February 2020 — was albeit — a big loss, still a great countermeasure to prevent the fast spreading of the COVID-19.
For employees who will be traveling across countries for business purposes, it is best to be familiarized with all the latest updates on areas where the virus has started spreading.
Knowing this information should help companies to create a systematic plan on how to lower the threatening risk of traveling abroad. Companies should refrain from sending their employees to areas where the virus is widespread.
While traveling, it is still essential to practice proper handwashing, sanitize everything, avoid going to crowded places, and lastly, employees should always keep their company HQ posted during their travel.
While all healthcare organizations are doing their very best to eradicate COVID-19, we, the people of every nation should unite and help them, even by following these simple countermeasures. It is not just the healthcare organizations’ job to protect each and every individual against COVID-19, but if we practice these safety measures, we can help one another and hand in hand mitigate the risk of being infected. With these aforementioned countermeasures against the pandemic, businesses are gearing up their employees to mitigate the risk of being infected as well their workplace to be COVID-19 free.