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Covid-19 Prevention and Response Policy Template

Posted 2 weeks ago in LEADERSHIP

THIS IS A TEMPLATE.  Review and update this to reflect your business’s policy. Tab through the form fields to update essential fields. We’ve included links to NZ, Aus and UK websites; delete those not relevant to your business, as well as these instructions.

Covid-19 Prevention and Response Policy for <COMPANY NAME>

Summary Statement

In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease, called Covid-19 or SARS-CoV-2 in Hubei Province, China, to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  On 12 March, they declared it a Global Pandemic.  In response to this outbreak, please read this Prevention & Response Policy to help minimise the impact of infection for our team and the wider community. 

For up to date information on infection, death and recovery rates per country click here:https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/


Symptoms of Covid-19

The symptoms for Covid-19 include:
*Coughing / shortness of breath
*Fever (≥ 38°C)
*Tiredness
*Body aches
*Runny nose
*Sore throat
*Looking obviously unwell
*Feeling confused / disorientated
*Diarrhoea

Many infected people experience a relatively mild infection, ranging from cold and flu-like symptoms to feeling like they have the actual flu.  
Mild to moderate infections are taking about two weeks to recover from.  About 20% of infected people experience a much more serious infection, requiring hospitalisation for several weeks.    

Current data suggests the fatality rate rises as you get older and is higher in those with underlying health conditions.   
How Covid-19 spreads.
Covid-19 spreads in a similar way to the flu. When someone who has it coughs or exhales, they release droplets of infected fluid. Most droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects, i.e. desks and computers. People could catch Covid-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. Standing within one meter of an infected person for 15 minutes can also transfer the virus through inhaling these droplets. 

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 and heart or lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

Travel considerations.
All non-urgent travel will be cancelled or postponed in accordance with Government recommendations.

If/when travelling is safe to do so (according to the Government), there is no pressure for any team members to be at an airport or on a plane if they’re uncomfortable with this mode of travel. If you have upcoming work-related travel and do not feel comfortable travelling, please let your manager know as soon as possible. Consider your personal health status and seek advice, e.g. from our government’s travel recommendations website –  safetravel.govt.nz/ | smartraveller.gov.au/ | gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice

When travelling, wash hands regularly, take hand sanitiser, and advise authorities if you’re feeling unwell.

Also, where possible minimise the use of other public transport, i.e. opt for a taxi over more crowded options.    

PREVENTION STRATEGIES
Everyday workplace sickness prevention methods.
There are many common sense, low-cost measures that will help prevent the spread of infections in our workplace, such as colds, flu and stomach bugs, and the spread of Covid-19.  The below measures are best practice regardless of Covid-19 and should be implemented immediately (if not already):
*Stay at home if you are sick (don’t return to work until you’ve been symptom free for at least 24 hours)
*Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue, or cough or sneeze into your elbow / down your shirt
*Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and dry thoroughly
*Frequently clean surfaces and objects

Pandemic flu and Non-Pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs).
When a new flu virus spreads, causing illness worldwide, it’s called pandemic flu.  Because a pandemic flu virus is new, the human population has little or no immunity against it, allowing it to spread quickly worldwide.

NPIs to undertake for Covid-19 at work
When to self-isolate at home – notify manager and work from home:

  1. If you develop symptoms of a cold or flu, even if they are very mild. Team members can work from home if demonstrating mild symptoms and feel up to working.
  2. If you have had close contact with another person who has symptoms (i.e. a spouse).
  3. If you’ve been advised by a public official due to potential exposure to an infected person (e.g. after travelling or attending a public event where it transpires someone with Covid-19 was also in attendance).

Changes in daily operations:

  1. Working from home, as per above. We advise you to consider your home ‘office’ set-up now to ensure you
    have internet, a computer, and ideally an additional screen, to enable the continuation of working from home.
  2. Potentially postponing non-important work travel (see Travel Considerations section above).
  3. Potentially postponing or modifying work-related events (those bigger than 100 pax.).
  4. Reduced in-person meetings. Ensure you remain 1m away from others or use online meetings where possible.

Reduced physical interactions:

  1. Avoid handshakes, hugs and physical contact with friends and colleagues for the time being.
  2. Elbow or foot bumps are currently trending: this great video.
  3. Our desks are more than 1m apart, please ensure you remain 1m apart at all times.

Increased cleaning measures:
We’ve purchased specialist hand sanitiser, disposable cleaning wipes and microbe shield spray for extra cleaning measures. Please ensure the following practices are implemented:

  1. Keep your individual workstation clean and hygienic by regularly wiping down surfaces and objects, e.g. desks, keyboards, phones, computer mice, etc.
  2. Always wash your hands before eating food and try not to touch your face.
  3. Use hand sanitiser in the absence of soap and water.
  4. Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue.

A note on facemasks: Masks prevent unwell people from spreading droplets. These should be worn by health professionals or unwell people (who in theory should either be in isolation or in hospital being treated by health professionals).

NPIs for at home.
There are many NPIs you and your family can implement at home.
These range from simple common sense measures, to being prepared in case you’re required to self-isolate and/or schools and other public spaces are closed.

  1. Try not to touch public surfaces with your fingers.
    Where possible, use knuckles rather than fingertips to flick light switches or press lift buttons, etc. Open push doors with your hips or elbows rather than your hands. Elbows can open many door handles. Using your sleeve is better than opening a door with a bare hand.
  2. Practice good cough and sneeze etiquette.
    Cover your mouth with the inside of your elbow when coughing or sneezing unexpectedly. If you’re sick, then you should have disposable tissues handy and/or be at home.
  3. Be prepared to cancel your attendance at large social events or avoid crowded public places.
    If you have minor cold symptoms, avoid such events.
  4. Mind how you talk about Covid-19.
    It’s important to talk about Covid-19 with your family (and children) to relay preventive measures and minimise anxiety. Read this for more on how to speak to children. Read this resource on how to avoid stigmatising people with the virus.
  5. Make sure you are getting your news from trustworthy, reliable sources.
    If following the news is making you anxious, take a break from it. Find accurate and reputable advice from the government’s dedicated website – New Zealand | website – Australia | website – UK
  6. Think about how you could lower your risk of contracting Covid-19 while still supporting the economy.
    Online shopping is our friend! Consider using PayWave when shopping instore and carrying sanitiser in public for when handwashing is not possible.

If you travel, be prepared to self-isolate for 2-3 weeks when you return home.

Self-isolation guidelines
You will need to be prepared to stay at home for 2-3 weeks if you are exposed to someone with Covid-19, are diagnosed with it yourself or are instructed to due to recent travel.
As part of this, ideally you should have enough food and supplies to keep you and your family going.
Plan to have a well-stocked pantry and freezer with plenty of food (including pet food) and cleaning and sanitary items to help prevent the spread if someone in your home develops Covid-19.
Non-perishable items may include:
*Rice, pasta, cereals, grains, beans, tinned food (such as beans, tuna, fruit, and vegetables), dried nuts and fruit,
*UHT milk, oil, and flavourings for some of your preferred ‘pantry’ dinners. Consider your preferred ‘pantry’
dinner menu when shopping
*Pre-cooked meals which you can freeze, along with raw meat, vegetables and bread
*For morale, include treat food such as lollies, chocolate, and most importantly, beer and wine…
*Soap, cleaning and sanitary products, hand sanitiser, laundry detergent, tissues
*If you live alone, establish an isolation contact or contacts who you’ll be able to reach out to regularly in the event you need to self-isolate. Ideally, this person should be ‘on the outside’ and should be able to deliver supplies to your front door.

Please stock up gradually and responsibly. Do not panic buy. Online grocery shopping is now widely available!

Self-isolation do’s and don’ts

Do’s
 Separate yourself from the people you live with, where possible avoid being in the same room at once
 Only allow people who live with you to visit and stay
 Stay in a well-ventilated room with a window that can be opened
 Ask friends, family members or delivery services to carry out errands for you
 Pre-register for online grocery shopping so you’re familiar with the service
 Make sure you tell delivery drivers to leave items outside for collection if you order online
 Clean toilets and bathrooms regularly
 Consider a bathroom rota if you have a single bathroom; the isolated person using the facilities last, before thoroughly cleaning the bathroom themselves
 Use separate towels from anyone else in the household
 Wash crockery and utensils thoroughly with soap and water; ideally in the dishwasher
 Stay away from your pets – if unavoidable, wash your hands before and after contact

Don’ts:
 Invite visitors to your home or allow visitors to enter
 Go to work, school or public areas
 Use public transport, e.g. buses, trains, tubes or taxis
 Share dishes, glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, bedding, etc. with other people in your home

IF YOU DEVELOP SYMPTOMS OF COVID-19

When to raise an alarm:
If you or a close family member has a temperate of 38°C or higher, or is experiencing one or more of the following symptoms, DO NOT GO OUT IN PUBLIC (or attend work), instead call a health professional:
 Coughing / Shortness of breath
 Fever (≥ 38°C)
 Tiredness
 Body aches
 Runny nose
 Sore throat
 Looking obviously unwell
 Feeling confused / disorientated
 Diarrhoea

Freephone <NAME OF COUNTRY HEALTH LINE> : <PHONE NUMBER> or call your doctor.

Do not present yourself at a medical centre until you’ve been given advice to do so. If you’ve been outside of the country, be sure to mention this.

This is critical; we can’t afford for healthcare workers to be in isolation due to unnecessary exposure to Covid-19.

COMMUNICATION AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Client communications via email and our social channels will be required if we make changes to operations that will directly affect them, i.e. if an event is postponed.

In the event of a change that requires notifying our clients, The team must be advised first. All communications should be handled by the Marketing Department.

FREE ANNUAL FLU VACCINATION

Whilst the annual flu vaccination will not protect you from Covid-19, it has been labelled by health professionals as having ‘a very important indirect effect’ on the potential impact of Covid-19.
The reasons being:
*The more people immunised against the flu (and the less people affected by the flu), the more public resources available to respond to the Covid-19 outbreak.
*Reducing the number of people who contract the flu reduces the number of people who will exhibit flu like symptoms, requiring both the need for Covid-19 testing (tests are limited) and disruptive self-isolation.

As responsible employers we offer this optional flu vaccination each year free of charge, simply take the work Credit Card or submit a receipt to accounts for reimbursement.

IMPORTANT REAL-TIME INFORMATION REGARDING COVID-19 IN <COUNTRY>

Regularly view the below website to stay up to date with the latest advice about Covid-19 in :
https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus (NZ)
https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert (Aus)
https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/coronavirus-covid-19-uk-government-response (UK)

Disclaimer: This policy is subject to change, pending updates in recommendations from our Government. It has been created specifically for employees of and as a guide only for other businesses.