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Current facts (March 13, 2020):

The coronavirus disease 2019, abbreviated “COVID-19”, has spread to 114 countries, prompting the World Health Organization to declare the disease a global pandemic (March, 11 2020). The WHO has been assessing this outbreak around the clock and is deeply concerned both by the alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction (Source: WHO).

Most of the infected patients will recover but elderly people and people who have severe underlying chronic medical conditions like heart or lung disease or diabetes seem to be at higher risk for developing more serious complications from COVID-19 illness. (Source: CDC)

Another problem with this pandemic is the capacity of healthcare. There are only limited places for intensive care and limitations in respiratory support equipment. This is why scientists ask to avoid crowded areas. The plan is to “flatten the curve” and to slow down the pandemic to make sure every case of COVID-19 can be treated in the best possible way.

At present, all states within the European Union have reported cases of infection with the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2).

This week, the United States issued a general entry ban for 30 days for people who want to travel from Europe to the USA because of the coronavirus.

Scandinavia is in lockdown, several countries issued entry bans. Sport events, concerts, cultural events and fairs are cancelled or postponed to slow down the infection rate.

What can you do to prevent illness:

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), neither a medication. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, it is recommended to undertake everyday preventive actions (source: CDC) to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty.
  • Keep your distance in the office, between your workplaces and at meetings (at least 1 meter).
    Avoid shaking hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and desinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Stay home when you are sick.

Besides these general recommendations, the CDC also created an “Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers” , this might help employers develop strategies, whether they are based in the USA or elsewhere.

Major events, conventions and business trips are cancelled due to the Corona crisis. Health organisations recommend reducing contact to other people wherever possible. This hits many companies hard.

General Recommendation:

Please check whether upcoming meetings can be changed to virtual meetings and if adopting remote work might be an option for your company. More and more organisations advise their employees to work from home due to the risk of coronavirus. This week, Google issued a recommendation for all Washington State employees to work remotely, citing growing fears around the spread of COVID-19. A spokesperson confirmed the recommendation in an email with TechCrunch. The move comes after a consultation with local health officials. (Source: techcrunch) After “strongly encouraging” it earlier this month, Twitter  said today that working from home is now mandatory for all employees around the world due to COVID-19 concerns. In the announcement, the company said “we understand this is an unprecedented step, but these are unprecedented times.” (March 12, 2020, Source: techcrunch)

Let’s do our part to “flatten the curve” and stay safe!

If your organisation considers recommending work from home one of the following articles might be interesting:

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