At this stage, it’s clear that coronavirus is here in the UK and it’s here to stay. The number of confirmed cases is increasing daily and it’s important that employees and businesses are cautious and prepared.
If you’re unsure about whether you should be going to work in the current climate, you should follow the current NHS advice:
Stay at home if you have any coronavirus symptoms
For many healthy people who do not fall into high-risk groups, even if you do contract COVID-19 you may only experience mild symptoms for a few days. While you may not feel particularly ill, however, it’s important to stay at home for 14 days if you, or anyone in your household, have any of the following symptoms:
- A high temperature – you feel hot to touch on your chest or back
- A new, continuous cough – this means you’ve started coughing repeatedly
While you may feel healthy enough to work, being out and about and going to the office could lead to you spreading coronavirus to the elderly and those with health problems who are more at risk. If you have the option to work from home, it’s highly recommended that you do so, and many employers are advising against any unnecessary travel.
You should not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital if you have any symptoms and you do not need to contact 111 unless you require medical attention. At present, you also won’t be tested for coronavirus if you’re staying at home.
How to avoid catching and spreading coronavirus
With coronavirus being such a new illness, we aren’t completely sure how it spreads from person to person. Similar viruses are spread in cough droplets, which is why it’s important to take these precautions:
- Regularly wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds (use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available)
- Always wash your hands when you get home or into work
- 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 immediately and wash your hands afterwards
- Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell
Employers should educate their employees on these precautions and provide hand sanitiser where possible.
What’s the plan?
The UK government have announced that they will be giving daily TV briefings on the outbreak to ensure that people are well-informed and know how to protect themselves. You can view the current coronavirus (COVID-19) action plan here.
While there’s no need to panic and start stock-piling toilet rolls, it is important that employers and employees take coronavirus seriously and do what they can now to prevent it from spreading further.