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Health Wise – How to prepare for coronavirus (Covid-19)

As you’ve probably been seeing and reading in the news, a strain of coronavirus called Covid-19 has spread to more than 110 countries, including the UK.

It’s understandable that individuals and businesses will be concerned about the impact this will have on our daily lives as well as the health and wellbeing of employees.

We take a look at some of the facts surrounding the coronavirus and how people can prepare for it.

What’s the latest update about the coronavirus (Covid-19) for the public?

As of the morning of the 12th of March 2020, over 29,700 people have been tested in the UK for Covid-19. 

590 of those have tested positive. It is expected that this figure will continue to rise.

The Department of Health and Social Care will regularly publish updated data at 2pm until further notice. You can find these updates on their Covid-19 information for the public page.

What’s the official advice about coronavirus (Covid-19) from the government for businesses?

As of the date we published this blog (March 12th 2021), the government has put together a guide for employers and businesses. This will help business owners to advise their staff on the latest information about Covid-19. 

We’ve put together an overview of this guide, to help individuals and businesses prepare for coronavirus.

What is coronavirus?

A coronavirus is simply a type of virus. 

As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world and can cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases.

Covid-19 is a novel coronavirus. This means that it is a new strain that hasn’t previously been identified in humans.

It was first identified in Wuhan City, China.

You can find out more on the World Health Organization (WHO) website.

What are the symptoms of Covid-19?

Typical symptoms of Covid-19 include fever and a dry cough. After a week, this leads to shortness of breath.

In more severe cases it can progress to pneumonia.

Generally speaking, Covid-19 causes more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems. This includes older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

It’s important to note that these symptoms are also similar to those of more common viruses, such as colds and flu.

What’s the incubation period of Covid-19?

According to WHO, symptoms can develop within 14 days of exposure to the virus.

Although some researchers believe that the incubation period may be up to 24 days.

How is Covid-19 spread?

Spread of COVID-19 is most likely to happen when there is close contact, within 2 metres or less, with an infected person. The longer you have close contact with an infected person, the higher the risk of infection.

The most likely means of transmission is when an infected person coughs or sneezes, spreading secretions containing the virus.

It’s also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface, object or the hand of an infected person.

There is currently little evidence that people who are without symptoms are infectious to others.

How can you prevent the spread of infection? 

There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.

The following general cold and flu precautions should be taken:

    • cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve, not your hands
    • put used tissues in the bin straight away
    • wash your hands with soap and water often – this NHS video shows you how to do this properly

  • try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
  • clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
  • don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean

Guidance on face masks

People aren’t recommended to wear face masks to protect against the virus.

The best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact with any potentially infected person. 

What should you do if you think you may have mild symptoms?

If you have a high temperature or a new continuous cough, the most recent advice (as of March 12th 2021) is to stay at home.

You shouldn’t go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.

You don’t need to contact NHS 111 the inform them and people won’t be tested who are self-isolating with mild symptoms.

Returning travellers from overseas

People who have returned from the following areas in the last 14 days should call NHS 111 for advice and stay at home:

  • Hubei Province, including Wuhan
  • Iran
  • Daegu or Cheongdo in the Republic of Korea
  • any area within Italy under containment measures

Advice on what to do if you have returned in the last 14 days from specified countries or areas is being updated on an ongoing basis.

What should you do if someone with suspected Covid-19 has recently been in your workplace?

Current advice states that there is no need to close the workplace or send other staff home at this point. 

Most possible cases turn out to be negative. No action should be taken until the outcome of test results.

What if someone with confirmed Covid-19 has recently been in your workplace?

Closure of the workplace is not recommended.

The management team will be contacted by the local Health Protection Team to discuss the case, identify people who have been in contact with them and advise on any actions or precautions that should be taken.

Advice on cleaning of communal areas such as offices or toilets will be given.

Keeping up to date on the latest Covid-19 news

With advice changing on a daily basis, it’s important to keep up to date with the latest news about Covid-19.

At the time of writing this blog, we’ve collected together the most recent information but you should always check the website for updates. 

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Categories: CoronavirusEmployeesHealth & WellbeingHealth SurveillanceHealth WiseOccupational Health

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