Occupational Health and Safety in novel Coronavirus health emergency

Occupational Health and Safety in novel Coronavirus health emergency

The outbreak of novel Coronavirus disease primarily in China (Wuhan and Hubei) and now considered a global health emergency – has brought forward the dire need for emergency preparedness in occupational health.

On Feb. 11 2020, a new name for the disease caused by the current novel coronavirus epidemic was announced by the World Health Organization: Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19).

The virus itself is decided to be designated with the name: SARS-CoV-2, which “formally recognizes this virus as a sister to severe acute respiratory syndrome coronaviruses.” A circulating health emergency that was seen in the last decade. #COVID19 #SARSCoV2 are the common social media signatures that have been designated for common use on social media – to engage with the masses and prevent misinformation or rumours to be spread about the disease.

We have compiled a frequently asked questions guide for our readers to refer and this has been sourced primarily from the W.H.O and other leading authorities on this health emergency as the situation develops.

What is the primary steps to protect against the nCOV or SARS-CoV-2?

  1. Frequent hand-washing with soap and water or alcohol-based hand sanitizer/rub remains the first shield of defence.

  2. Respiratory hygiene in form of – cover mouth while coughing or sneezing with hand or tissue, and immediately discarding the tissue in closed bins and hand-washing.

  3. SARS-CoV-2 can spread through respiratory droplets which are liquids, therefore, sneezing or touching eyes, nose or mouth should be avoided.

As a follow-up advice, W.H.O recommends anyone with breathing difficulties, cough and fever to seek immediate medical attention.

Here are some of the common myths busted straight from W.H.O for reference and precautions.

From occupational standpoint, what are the precautions?

Situation monitoring and disease surveillance is the primary government agenda across all countries in Asia as well as the world currently. Due to the nature of the illness, our global travelling habits and frequent exchange of tourists and business travellers; governments are taking appropriate measures and issuing advisory.

Follow an appropriate health agency which has the authority and follow the protocols related to air-travel or travel to China or other parts of Asia.

What is international action plan?

Information from the right sources remains key to stem the outbreak. W.H.O has organized an effort which will be focussed on the following points:

  • the natural history of the virus, its transmission and diagnosis;
  • animal and environmental research on the origin of the virus, including management measures at the human-animal interface;
  • epidemiological studies; clinical characterization and management of disease caused by the virus;
  • infection prevention and control, including best ways to protect health care workers;
  • research and development for candidate therapeutics and vaccines;
  • ethical considerations for research;
  • and integration of social sciences into the outbreak response.

Practical guidelines pertaining to precaution and emergency response is well-organized and available from the right sources. Misinformation and rumours only hurt the paramount efforts made by health agencies and therefore should be discredited and fact-checked with the designated authorities.

The designated health ministry website in India carries the relevant information for your use and advisory by the government of India, click here to access.

Disclaimer: This blog is published purely for the awareness and spreading the right information from authenticated sources, such as the World Health Organization and Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, India. We do not claim or take responsibility for information sourced from these webpages.

Image courtesy: 3D medical animation coronavirus structure, original photo can be found on Wikimedia Commons, accessed on 13-Feb-2020 – image resized.

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