Coronavirus

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A novel coronavirus (nCoV) is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

The first Coronavirus (Covid-19) case has been confirmed in South Africa. The Department of Health announced on 5 March that a 38-year-old man from KwaZulu-Natal had contracted the virus while in Italy.

How COVID-19 spreads
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 one 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 to flu. Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. 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.
Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, thoroughly cooking meat and eggs. Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

As part of ensuring Health and Safety in the workplace, below are simple ways to prevent the spread of COVID-19:
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. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled.

Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace

For regular updates on Coronavirus visti the following links:

  • https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/
  • https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/getting-workplace-ready-for-covid-19.pdf