The World Health Organization, WHO, has called for the promotion of regular and thorough hand-washing hygiene, adding that coronavirus (COVID-19) can be contacted when someone infected coughs or exhales.
WHO said that people can contract the virus if droplets of infected fluid fell on nearby surfaces and objects such as desks, tables or telephones, adding, “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. 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 years seem to be more vulnerable. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.”
The global health agency gave simple measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in workplace to include: making sure workplaces are clean and hygienic; surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly.
The reason for this is that contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads; it therefore advocated for regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers.
It added, “Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled. Display posters promoting hand-washing, ask your local public health authority for these or look on www.WHO.int.
“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 COVID-19.
“Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace. Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures such as offering guidance from occupational health and safety officers, briefing at meetings and information on the internet, etc.
“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. This is because good respiratory hygiene prevents the spread of COVID-19. Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.
“Brief your 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.”