The World Health Organization on Thursday advised employers on ways to prevent the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at workplaces.
This was contained in a memo titled, ‘Getting your business ready in case COVID-19 arrives in your community’.
The United Nations Specialised Agency for health coordination and management said “employers should start doing these things now, even if COVID-19 has not arrived in the communities where they operate”.
It advised employers “to make sure workplaces are clean and hygienic, ensure desk surfaces and intercoms wiped with disinfectant regularly.
“Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors, and customers and put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace.
“Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water because washing kills the virus on your hands and prevents the spread of COVID19.
“Ensure that face masks and/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 as good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19.
“Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.
“Brief employees, contractors, and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home. They should also stay home (or work from home) if they have had to take simple medications, such as paracetamol/acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin, which may mask symptoms of infection.”
It explained that employers should cultivate good hygiene because when someone who has COVID-19 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 or 2 meters 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 to flu.”
As of Thursday, the novel virus, which was first detected in China, has been reported in over 18 countries across Europe, Asia, Middle East and lately Africa.
WHO stated that there was a high risk of the disease spreading to more countries around the world, hence all sections of the society – including businesses and employers – must play a role to stop the spread of the disease.
Also, the Federal Government recently released N386million to health agencies to strengthen Coronavirus preparedness in Nigeria.