With 15 cases reported in Australia, there is increasing concern from Australian and New Zealand workplaces about the risk of coronavirus, and if there are any steps that employers should be taking to prevent the potential spread of the virus.
What is coronavirus?
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). They are found worldwide in humans and animals.
The coronavirus currently causing concern is known as novel coronavirus (also called 2019-nCoV). It is a new strain that has not previously been identified in humans.
Taking reasonable precautions with staff
Employees can take some common sense steps to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, just as they can with the common cold. Washing hands for 20 seconds with soapy water and sneeze into your elbow, not hands. If water isn’t available, use hand sanitizers.
If an employee experiences fever, difficulty breathing and/or cold and flu like symptoms and has travelled to mainland China, or has been in contact with anyone who has a confirmed case of coronavirus, they should stay at home and call ahead to book to see a doctor.