Precautions to take and where to find out more
Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19)
Guidance to help employers, employees and the self-employed understand how to work safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
Click here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/working-safely-during-coronavirus-covid-19
Advice from the UK Information Commissioner’as Office
Click here: Workplace testing – guidance for employers
More sources of Information
World Health Organisation
Click here: https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public
Additional general advice
Please ensure that you take the following actions to reduce the risks of exposure:
Wash your hands frequently – Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
- Why? – 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 2 metres (6 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
- Why? – When someone coughs or sneezes, they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth, which may contain the virus.
Avoid touching eyes, nose & mouth
- Why? – Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth.
Practice 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.
- Why? – 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 a 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.
Update to list of symptons as of 6 May 2020:
Six new symptoms of COVID-19 have been added to a list from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new symptoms include: chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and new loss of taste or smell. Previously listed symptoms include fever, cough, and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. Also on the list: emergency warning signs that a case of COVID-19 requires immediate medical attention. These warning signs include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, any new confusion or inability to arouse, and bluish lips or face, the CDC said.
Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.
- Why? – 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 the spread of viruses and other infections.
What about attending meetings?
Here is some very practical advice based on instructions issued by the British Standards Institute (BSI) to members of their committees:
As you would be aware, the situation regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is developing daily across the world. We wanted to provide you with guidance around your participation in committee meetings over the coming weeks and months.
Your safety and wellbeing, as well as that of our colleagues, is our highest priority. We have carefully considered the official advice available to us and our responsibility to reduce the risk posed to those participating in, and supporting, the work of our committees.
Please always follow the official advice being communicated by authorities in your location regarding travel and seek medical advice in the event of symptoms. You should also consult the advice being given by the authorities in the location you’re considering travelling to.
We ask you to consider whether you need to attend meetings in person. You are welcome to participate remotely should this be necessary [and if the facility is available], or should you prefer not to travel.
Please note that if you do travel to a meeting, you will be asked to confirm that you understand the UK Government advice and it is okay for you to be in a public space and attend the meeting. We have implemented this measure to help combat the spread of the virus.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation and patience as we seek to navigate this rapidly developing situation.
Practical advice from one of our members
United Utilities would like to provide some guidance to our supply chain regarding the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). We would request that all our suppliers adhere to the following guidelines;
- Where social distancing cannot be guaranteed within a customers’ properties we recommend that face masks should be worn regardless of whether anyone in the property is showing symptoms.
- Enhanced PPE is only to be worn when entering a property where a customer is showing symptoms of COVID-19
- Enhanced PPE refers to use of a disposable plastic apron (single use), disposable gloves (single use), fluid resistant surgical masks, disposable eye protection (single use) and access to hand hygiene (either via washing or use of sanitiser)
- Masks are not required if working outside a customer’s property and social distancing guidelines can be adhered to
- Masks are to be disposed using normal waste disposal routes
- Face masks can be worn for up to 8 hours so can be used in more than 1 customer property but must be changed in any of the following circumstances;
- if damaged
- if soiled (e.g. with secretions, body fluids)
- if damp
- if uncomfortable or causing skin irritation
- if difficult to breathe through.
- If the face mask has been removed at any time then they should replace with a new one
We appreciate supplies of PPE are difficult to secure but we request all suppliers follow the above guidelines.
Cybersecurity: Warning about Coronavirus Scammers
Cybersecurity firm Check Point Software Technologies put out some interesting research on coronavirus “activity.” It is enlightening to see how quickly the bad actors have moved to take advantage of this space.
Since January, there have been more than 4,000 coronavirus-related internet domains registered globally. And out of these, 3% are malicious and another 5% are highly suspicious.
That’s at least 320 websites that are likely to lead to some kind of cyberattack if we visit the site. And coronavirus-related websites are 50% more likely to be malicious than other websites.
Another cybersecurity firm, Sophos, has noted the uptick in coronavirus-related phishing emails. These typically claim that information is available about the coronavirus in your local town, and a Microsoft document is attached.
Malicious software is automatically downloaded onto the computer of anyone who clicks on it. Then, cybercriminals try to find information that can provide access to financial accounts and so forth.
Other messages claim that they have a cure to COVID-19… Please, please don’t fall for this.
To be very clear, there is currently no cure or vaccine for COVID-19.
Several candidate therapies and vaccines are readying for clinical trials this year, but they won’t be approved by the FDA anytime in 2020. Put simply, the drug development process takes longer than that to ensure the safety of the therapy.
Please, don’t click on any links claiming there is a cure. Don’t download any files from an unknown sender about coronavirus, and don’t even click on links shared on social media sites like Facebook or Twitter unless you know where the link comes from.
There is simply too much risk in doing so.