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Coronavirus
Guidance Note for Employees
(28-Feb-2020)

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There has been considerable media coverage on the Coronavirus disease (more formally known as COVID-19). But what should you do as an employer? This blog provides elements measures for the workplace that can help reduce the likelihood of your employees catching and spreading Coronavirus (and other viruses) to others.

Advice you should give your employees: If you or they suspect they have Coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

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What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus is a virus that can affect the lungs and airways of the sufferer, and commonly presents itself with flu-like symptoms.

Note: If you or your employees have these symptoms, it’s likely to be a cold or flu, however, to err on the side of caution, this blog includes guidance on what to do if you suspect you may be at risk.

How to Reduce the Risk of Catching and Spreading Coronavirus

How is Coronavirus spread?

Like cold and flu bugs, the virus is spread via droplets when a person coughs or sneezes. The droplets land on surfaces and are picked up on the hands of others and spread further. People catch the virus when they touch their infected hands to their mouth, nose or eyes.

Actions that employees can take to reduce the risk of catching and spreading the virus

To reduce the risk of catching the virus, advise your employees to:

  • Wash their hands with soap and water frequently throughout the day
  • Use hand sanitizer gel frequently
  • Use anti-bacterial wipes to wipe their desk and other surfaces
  • Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth if their hands are not clean

To reduce the risk of spreading the virus, encourage your employees to:

  • Cover their nose and mouth with a tissue when they cough or sneeze (not their hands as this can spread the virus if they then go onto touch surfaces etc)
  • Throw used tissues in the bin

Steps you as an employer can do to reduce the risk:

  • Make your employees aware of the symptoms, the ways the virus can be spread and how this can be reduced
  • Provide plenty of tissues and wipes, encourage the use of these, ensure used tissues and wipes are thrown in the bin (rather than left on desks or worktops), and make sure the bins are emptied regularly

What to do if your Employees are Reporting or Showing Potential Symptoms

What are the symptoms of Coronavirus?

The symptoms of coronavirus include:

• A cough
• High temperature
• Shortness of breath

But these symptoms do not necessarily mean you have the illness.

The symptoms of Coronavirus are similar to other illnesses that are much more common, such as cold and flu.

Those at higher risk

You are likely to be at higher risk of having contracted the Coronavirus if you’ve been to:

  • Hubei province in China in the last 14 days
  • Iran, areas of northern Italy in lockdown or “special care zone” areas in South Korea since 19 February 2020
  • Other parts of mainland China or South Korea, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath
  • Other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath

Naturally, you’ll also be at higher risk if you’ve been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus infection.

Sending Employees Home

Although the gov.uk website had announced the UK has a low-moderate risk of the virus, it is recommended that if your employee feels unwell, they should go home and isolate themselves for 14 days to ensure the virus doesn’t spread to others.

What to do if you are unsure

If you are unsure in what to do about the Coronavirus, or think you may have been infected with it, please call 111 for urgent advice.

Advice you should give your employees: If you or they suspect they have Coronavirus, do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111, stay indoors and avoid close contact with other people.

If you’d like help with Coronavirus, Employee Well-being or any other HR matter, contact us on 0203 319 1649 or fill in the form below.

Contact Us

If you’d like help with Coronavirus, Employee Well-being or any other HR matter, contact us on 0203 319 1649 or fill in the form below.

Contact Us

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