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Analysis

Protecting your employees against Coronavirus

By Jeroen Posma | Fri, 02/28/2020 - 13:53

COVID-19 is contagious, but with a 2 percent mortality rate in China, it is not as deadly as outbreaks such as SARS and MERS which had mortality rates of 10-34 percent. On the other hand, it does present a serious threat to Mexico’s population and economy. In the absence of a vaccine against the COVID-19, Mexico will have to rely on the same strategies that help protect against influenza. Here are some key measures outlined by the World Health Organization and other parties that businesses can encourage their teams to take:

 

Keep Calm

First of all, prepare but do not panic. Rely on official communication channels such as the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organization. Abstain from sharing unverified information through social media. In the early stages of an infectious-disease outbreak the fear of the unknown can cause panic.  Rather than relying on panic-induced drastic measures, experts recommend common precautions such as washing your hands, maintaining social distancing and avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth.

 

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

 

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1-meter distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing. When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

 

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

 

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately. Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

 

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

 

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.

 

Inform employees and keep open communication

Make sure that all the members of the company are following the general precautions as outlined by the Ministry of Health. Managers should learn to identify the symptoms of coronavirus, be fully aware of the strategies to prevent it and keep up to date on the necessary procedures to undertake if an employee becomes sick. Awareness and communication are essential for the effectiveness of preventative measures. Nothing is too small to ignore, but only effective communication make this process feasible.

 

Be smart about travel

Whether it is travel between home and work, between workplaces, between cities or between countries, be smart about the way in which you travel. Avoid unnecessary travel to infected areas. For employees coming back from a trip, ask them to be extra thoughtful of their health and in case of presenting any discomfort asks them to present proof a medical checkup. It is important to consider the risks associated with your daily commute, especially when using public transportation or taxis and ride-sharing services.

 

Keep workspaces clean

Intensify cleaning protocols both for common areas and individual work places

 

Limit office visits 

Have a strict control of the guests coming into the office, is possible, minimize these kinds of movements.

 

Handshakes and hugs

Mexicans are very friendly people who hug in addition to shaking hands, while both are ways to transmit the virus. No-touch salutations reduce the possibility of transmission of the virus.

 

Do masks prevent illness?

There is not conclusive evidence that wearing a face mask can help prevent COVID-19 infection. Rather than relying on a mask, and the false sense of security it may give, minimize your exposure to situation with a high infection risk.

 

To stay updated on the spreading of COVID-19, we would like to suggest visiting the following website:

https://www.arcgis.com/apps/opsdashboard/index.html#/bda7594740fd40299423467b48e9ecf6

Jeroen Posma Jeroen Posma Managing Director