- Dr. M.S. Kanwar, Senior Consultant, Department of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi
As the government begins the vaccination procedure and relaxes restrictions on social distancing and movement, there remains a sense of fear and anxiety amongst office goers, especially the ones who have to commute via public transportation.
A few precautionary steps need to be followed and maintained on a daily basis so that we don’t expose ourselves to the virus yet again and cause another wave. The need of the hour is getting used to the new normal and practicing behavioral change in terms of maintaining hygiene and social distancing.
Getting your Workplace ready for COVID 19
When someone who has COVID19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects, such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects, and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.
If they are standing within 1 meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way as flu. Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some experience more serious illnesses and may require hospital care.
The risk of serious illness rises with age: people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40.
People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.
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1.Simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in your workplace
The low-cost measures below will help prevent the spread of infections in your workplace, such as colds, flu and stomach bugs, and protect your customers, contractors, and employees.
Employers should start doing these things now, even if COVID-19 has not arrived in the communities where they operate. These measures can reduce working days lost due to illness and stop or slow the spread of COVID-19 if it arrives at one of your workplaces.
- Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic–Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly
- Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors, and customers – Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace.
- Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace – Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Ensure that face masks or paper tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them. This is because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19.
2. How to manage COVID-19 risk when organizing meetings and events
There is a risk that people attending your meeting or event might unwittingly bring the COVID-19 virus to the meeting. Others might be unknowingly exposed to COVID-19. Although COVID-19 is a mild disease for most people, it can make some very ill. Around 1 in every 5 people who catch COVID-19 needs hospital treatment.
Key considerations to prevent or reduce COVID-19 risks BEFORE the meeting or event
- Follow their advice.
- Develop and agree a preparedness plan to prevent infection at your meeting or event. – Consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is Could it be replaced by a teleconference or online event?
- Could the meeting or event be scaled down so that fewer people attend?
- Verify information and communication channels in advance with key partners such as public health and health care authorities.
- Pre-order sufficient supplies and materials, including tissues and hand sanitizer for all participants.