The World Health Organisation (WHO) has now declared the current outbreak of the new coronavirus COVID-19; first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China as a “Public Health Emergency of International Concern.” As more countries announce quarantine measures for travellers returning from areas with the most serious outbreaks, companies need to ensure that they are prepared to deal with the impact of the coronavirus in the workplace. This document aims to answer some of the questions that you are likely to be asking.
Information about the virus
A coronavirus is a type of virus. As a group, coronaviruses are common across the world. COVID-19 is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China in January 2020.
The incubation period of COVID-19 is between 2 to 14 days. This means that if a person remains well 14 days after contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus, they have not been infected.
Symptoms of COVID-19
The following symptoms may develop in the 14 days after exposure to someone who has COVID-19 infection:
- a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
- a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually have a cough, it may be worse than usual)
- a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
Most people with Covid-19 will have at least one of these symptoms
Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.
What do I do if I have a high temperature, loss of smell/taste and/or a new, continous cough?
You must stay at home, book a test and call us if you have either:
- A high temperature - you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A New, continuous cough
- A loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you've noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal
You must not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or Hospital and you do not need to call NHS 111.
You must only use the NHS 111 service if you:
- you feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
- your condition gets worse
- your symptoms do not get better after 7 days
How long to stay at home?
- if you live alone and you have symptoms of coronavirus illness (COVID-19), however mild, stay at home for 10 days from when your symptoms started.
- if you live with others and you are the first in the household to have symptoms of coronavirus, then you must stay at home for 10 days, but all other household members who remain well must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill. You can download a visual Stay at Home explanatory diagram from Public Health here.
- it is likely that people living within a household will infect each other or be infected already. Staying at home for 14 days will greatly reduce the overall amount of infection the household could pass on to others in the community
- for anyone in the household who starts displaying symptoms, they need to stay at home for 7 days from when the symptoms appeared, regardless of what day they are on in the original 14 day isolation period.
If you live with someone who is 70 or over, has a long-term condition, is pregnant or has a weakened immune system, try to find somewhere else for them to stay for 14 days.
If you have to stay at home together, try to keep away from each other as much as possible.
This advice must be followed by all of our Staff both internally and care staff and anyone planning on visiting our premises.
This information was correct at the type of writing this however for more detailed information and updated information, please look at the government's website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-stay-at-home-guidance/stay-at-home-guidance-for-households-with-possible-coronavirus-covid-19-infection
There are some countries and areas where there's a higher chance of coming into contact with someone with coronavirus.
If you're planning to travel abroad and are concerned about coronavirus, see advice for travellers on GOV.UK.
What should I do if I have been in close contact with someone with confirmed COVID-19?
You must also call 111 if you have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus and follow the advice given by 111.
If you have been advised by Public Health England or NHS 111 to Self Isolate, we will not allow you to work and you must not enter our offices or any of our clients services/locations.
This advice applies to all members of staff, candidates and temps.
It is imperative that this advice is followed. Do not carry out any face to face meetings/interviews with Candidates who have informed you that they have returned from any of the areas/countries listed above. Interviews can be conducted on the telephone/face time etc.
How to avoid catching and spreading germs – this is good practice and should always be followed.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus.
Public Health England (PHE) recommends that the following general cold and flu precautions are taken to help prevent people from catching and spreading COVID-19:
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- put used tissues in the bin straight away
- wash your hands with soap and water often – use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
- clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces
- do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean
If you are worried about symptoms, please call NHS 111. Do not go directly to your GP or other healthcare environment.
Further information is available on the PHE blog and NHS.UK.
Face masks for the general public are not recommended to protect from infection, as there is no evidence of benefit from their use outside healthcare environments.
Further information can be found at the following links
Cream Health Care's Contingency Plan
We are now working to our contingency pla and everything is running smoothly!
If you have any queries at all please contact:
Jenny Muir – 01782 261552
Robert McNamara – 01782 261552
Published: 6th March 2020
Updated: 18th March 2020