On the 7th of March, the number of coronavirus infection cases surpassed 100,000 cases, as reported by the World Health Organisation. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has been making prime headlines on a global scale. It has killed more than 3,000 and infected more than 93,000 people, mostly in mainland China. It has spread to more than 25 countries worldwide, including Singapore. Neighbouring countries such as Japan, Thailand, South Korea, Malaysia and Vietnam have also seen an increase in the number of cases. As of the 9th of March, there were 57 active cases, with 93 having recovered fully and discharged.
Highly infectious and without a cure, we must prevent coronavirus infection from spreading at all cost. Yet how do we continue our everyday lives, manage all of its demands and activities without compromising our health and its safety with the coronavirus spreading stealthily within Singapore?
Did you know that we spend approximately one-third of our lives at work, which is why it is of utmost necessity to protect ourselves. This in turn, also protects our colleagues, loved ones and our social circles. While the coronavirus is relatively well-contained in Singapore, it is never too much to take necessary precautions to keep it at bay.
The coronavirus first originated from Wuhan, in the Hubei Province of China, where a person was exposed to an infected animal.
From there, the rapid transmission of the virus throughout China, and now globally, can be attributed to the fact that it is a contagious disease that spreads through human to human contact, such as the saliva or respiratory droplets of an infected person’s nose or mouth. People with weak immune systems might face complications such as pneumonia, multi-organ failure, or even death. An infected person however, can still make a full recovery if their immune system is strong.
Global Reaction to Coronavirus
Governments worldwide have since carried out travel bans to and from China and other affected countries, such as South Korea, Iran, and Italy. Actively quarantining those who have recent travel history to such countries. Airlines are also reacting by cancelling flights to and from these countries.
With that said, obligatory commitments to work and even social engagements are hard to put off. It is also crucial that the public implements and adheres to safety measures to help keep the coronavirus at bay collectively. At work, employers and employees alike can be conscious in doing their part to help prevent the spreading too.
Preventing the next coronavirus infection in Singapore begins with you.
10 Ways to prevent the coronavirus infection at your workplace:
1. Regulate temperature screenings
Mandate temperature screenings for everyone before entering the place of work as regulated. For offices with bigger crowds, an infrared camera would be recommended as they can detect temperatures without interrupting the flow of people into the workplace. If a temperature above 37.5-degree celsius is detected, we highly recommend sending that employee for a doctor’s visit.
2. Record Contact information of Visitors
Contact information of visitors can be recorded, making it easier for contact tracing, in the unfortunate event of exposure of the virus within a building. Contact information forms can be done digitally or manually. By quarantining via contact tracing, we are then able to prevent the coronavirus infection from spreading further.
3. The signing of Health Declaration Forms for Visitors
Aside from temperature screenings, you can also have visitors fill up a health declaration form. There have been cases where those infected with the coronavirus did not exhibit virus-like symptoms, which is why the health declaration form aids in tracking down necessary information especially when it includes recent travel history and pre-existing conditions, to help decide if one should be permitted within a public workplace environment.
4. Practice sanitisation in the office
Workplaces should also make hand sanitisers easily accessible to everyone. Stock up on hand sanitisers. For better grade hand sanitisers, check them out here. Regular sanitisation of areas and objects shared in the office should be a part of the cleaning process. Disinfecting surfaces that are communal, such as the desks, doorknobs, doorbells, lifts, multiple times throughout the day, if not daily. Would be wise to stock up on disinfectants as well given the increased need for it.
5. Refrain from unnecessary travel plans
By preventing employees from situations that put them at risk of coronavirus infection, we lower the chances of it spreading in the workplace. Airports, planes and travelling, in general, is a cesspool for diseases and is highly discouraged at this time. Hence, refrain from travelling unless urgent or necessary, and strictly follow the health advisories’ recommendations when travelling to a particular country. Consider enforcing a travel declaration to keep tabs on the travel history of your co-workers.
6. Encourage the use of masks
As the coronavirus is spread through the contact of saliva, wearing protective masks helps prevent saliva from spreading onto others through sneezing or coughing. It also helps limit contact between the hands and the face of a person. The coronavirus can also spread before symptoms arise, hence it is wiser to always wear a mask at the slightest bit of sickness.
7. Be vigilant about employee's health
If your employees are showing indications of ill health, permit them to rest at home to recover. Keep an eye out for indicative signs, such as fevers, headaches, coughing, shortness of breath and difficulties in breathing. Employees should be encouraged to visit a doctor if they experience or display any of the symptoms of the coronavirus infection. Frontline workers are especially susceptible to catching illnesses and can consider these precautionary measures to help better ensure their safety.
8. Maintain minimal physical contact
As the virus is transmitted only through physical contact of one’s saliva and not airborne, it is necessary to limit or to refrain from physical contact wherever possible. Workplaces can encourage a period of “no contact” and refrain from handshakes. Instead adopt a Japanese style of greetings such as waving, smiling, bowing, or a simple nod of acknowledgement.
9. Educate teams on proper hygiene habits
One of the key steps to preventing coronavirus infection, as like other illnesses, is to maintain good hygiene. Emphasise the importance of practising proper hygiene habits, such as washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds, and with the appropriate technique. Avoid touching the face, mouth or eyes when you are out in public, and cover your mouth when coughing or sneezing. Remind colleagues that they should shower as soon as they reach home, and also wipe down their phones from time to time sanitising it.
10. Allow remote work practices and go digital
Did you know that adopting digital practices into your workflow can not only increase employee morale but also work productivity? Businesses should therefore adopt the use of digital applications not only in times of pandemic situations but to prepare ahead when faced with such unforeseen circumstances? Advocate for digital communication even when within the same building. Utilise voice or video calls to maintain clear and transparent communication remotely be it through Skype, Slack or Zoom.
Did you know that Really, Singapore’s integrated B2B tool allows real estate professionals to still stay on top of their project and property management tasks remotely and digitally. In fact, procurement needs can also be done in one unified platform.
While the country fights together to combat and prevent coronavirus infection, we should remember that Singapore stood victorious against other numerous pandemic viruses before, i.e Ebola, MERS, SARS. When we unite and stand together and fulfill our duty in being sanitary, we can help not only keep coronavirus at bay but to potentially combat it. Remember, Singapore’s effective containment measures and resilience to external threats, medical or military has always been indisputable. Let’s keep at it and help Singapore rid itself of the coronavirus!
We want to acknowledge and thank all the professionals within healthcare and medical scenes for keeping Singapore and its people safe in such perilous times.