Following the outbreak of coronavirus in China and the UK Chief Medical Officers raising the risk to the British public from low to moderate, we felt it would be beneficial to issue some basic advice relating to coronavirus for our staff, customers, and suppliers.
Coronavirus – What is it?
Coronaviruses are a type of virus which are common across the world; the recent outbreak relates to Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which is a new strain of coronavirus first identified in Wuhan City, China.
How is it spread?
Because COVID-19 is a new illness, we do not know exactly how it is spread. However, similar viruses are spread through infected people coughing and sneezing, by touching an infected person's hands or face, or by touching things such as doorknobs that infected people have touched.
It is highly unlikely that it can be spread through packages from affected countries or through food.
What are the symptoms?
The symptoms of most coronaviruses are similar to any other upper respiratory infection, including coughing, sore throat, a high temperature, and shortness of breath. In most cases, you won't know whether you have a coronavirus or a different cold/fever-causing virus.
In some cases, the symptoms of a coronavirus may develop severe pneumonia, causing shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer, or chronic lung disease. Fourteen days is believed to cover the incubation period for COVID-19.
How to avoid catching or spreading germs
There is currently no vaccine for coronavirus. But there are things you can do to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:
- − DO – Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when you cough or sneeze.
- − DO – Put used tissues in the bin straight away.
- − DO – Wash your hands with soap and water often, but especially after using public transport or spending time in public spaces. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.
- − DO – Try to avoid close contact with people who are unwell.
- − DO NOT – Touch your eyes, nose or mouth if your hands are not clean.
What are the risks?
The government is closely monitoring the spread of the coronavirus and is taking action at home and abroad. The overall risk of coronavirus to the UK remains moderate. However, we understand that people may be concerned where those around them may have returned from or visiting affected places. GCT is following the government advice at all times, which we have summarised below.
Public Health England and the Foreign Office have issued advice for anyone traveling to the area, which can be found at:
What to do if you suspect you have coronavirus (COVID-19)?
In line with Government advice, we ask all staff, to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people (self-quarantine) if they have traveled to the UK from: − Hubei province in China in the last 14 days, even without symptoms − Iran, areas of northern Italy in lockdown, or “special care zone” areas in South Korea since 19 February, even without symptoms − Other parts of mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath − Other parts of northern Italy (anywhere north of Pisa, Florence, and Rimini), Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos or Myanmar since 19 February and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath − Or, if they have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus.
People are advised to call 111 and not to go to a GP surgery, pharmacy, or hospital. They should also call 111 if they think they have been in close contact with someone with confirmed coronavirus.
Please follow this advice even if your symptoms are minor.
How does this change my working day?
To date, we have assessed our current working practices:
Restricted international travel.
- Consider alternative ways of meeting, i.e., through video/teleconference, etc.
- Only essential travel to low-risk areas will be authorised at present.
- Monitor our UK travel arrangements in conjunction with how this virus is manifesting across the UK.
Staff Health & Wellbeing
- All personal travel arrangements to be notified to the company by staff and discussed if associated with high-risk areas.
- Good hygiene practices have been promoted, including the provision of hand sanitisers and tissues for all office-based staff and visitors with extra for service vehicles (all items on backorder).
- Increased cleaning in communal areas.
- All workstations provided with antibacterial wipes for wiping down of users’ desks, computer keyboard/mouse, and telephone.
- Do not allow cold callers entry to the building, turn them away by use of the intercom not face to face.
- Do not allow anyone into the building that does not have an appointment.
- No visits to company premises by friends or family.
- No suppliers allowed to visit GCT premises.
- Visits to GCT premises by customers to be limited, consider alternative ways of meeting, i.e., through video/teleconference, etc.
- If a customer visit cannot be avoided, then only essential staff to be invited.
- Restrict customer access to only essential areas of the building.
- Limit customer contact to only minimal GCT staff.
- Ensure that people visiting or contract working at GCT site have verified they are fit to visit.
- GCT to advise visitors of any issues or concerns prior to their planned visit.
- GCT staff to avoid contact with drivers and their equipment do not allow drivers access to the GCT building, including our kitchen and toilets.
- Try to avoid signing for parcels/deliveries; just give the driver your name.
Engineering Site Visits
- GCT engineers to limited onsite contact to only essential staff.
- At all times follow good hygiene practices when in a customer’s premises.
Page updated 9th March 2020