What employers need to know about coronavirus

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.

Business travel to China

As of 2 February 2020 it is recommended that Australians do not travel to China.  Up to date travel advice can be viewed here: www.smartraveller.gov.au/destinations/asia/china

Helpful resources

The most accurate source of information on the spread of the virus is the Australia government website, which is updated daily:

How DHS can help

DHS have dedicated triage nurses on call 24/7 to receive calls from employees and provide information and guidance on coronavirus.

We have also supported some of our clients by providing nurses onsite to answer any questions from employees.

Contact us today to set up a hotline for your staff or have one of our registered nurses onsite to support your employees.