WHAT'S NEW - How To Stay Safe In A Pandemic (Covid-19)

How To Stay Safe In A Pandemic (Covid-19)

by Vandana Thanki

Coronavirus has now been detected in many countries, including a number of cases in the UK, and for this reason it is important that we take steps now to prevent it spreading further.

A coronavirus is a type of virus like the flu which are common across the world.  This new strain is known as novel coronavirus (2019-nCov). The symptoms start with a fever (temperature above 38 degrees celsius) followed by a dry cough.  After a week this develops into breathing difficulty with some patients needing hospitalisation. The infection rarely causes a runny nose or sneezing. Generally, coronavirus can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease. About one in four cases are thought to be severe. 

Symptoms of Corona Virus 

Symptoms usually include:

o A high temperature (above 38 degrees)

o A cough

o Difficulty breathing

How Is Coronavirus Spread Between People?

Although the exact means of transmission are unconfirmed, the virus is most likely spread like flu and other respiratory disease via airborne droplets and aerosols and picked up from surfaces by the hands and can enter the body through the mouth, nose and eyes. 

Precautions To Take

We are asking people to take simple, common-sense steps to avoid close contact with other people as much as possible, like they would with other flu viruses.

What Are Good Hygiene Practices?

Washing hands:

  • You should wash your hands regularly, especially after:
o Coughing
o Sneezing
o Using public transport
o Visiting the toilet
o Before/after treating a cut
  • You should wash your hands with hot water and soap for the amount of time it takes to sing "Happy Birthday" twice (around 20 seconds).
  • If you do not have immediate access to soap and water, then use alcohol-based hand gel if available.
  • Method for washing hands
  • Wet your hands with water.
  • Apply enough soap to cover your hands.
  • Rub your hands together.
  • Use 1 hand to rub the back of the other hand and clean in between the fingers. Do the same with the other hand.
  • Rub your hands together and clean in between your fingers.
  • Rub the back of your fingers against your palms.
  • Rub your thumb using your other hand. Do the same with the other thumb.
  • Rub the tips of your fingers on the palm of your other hand. Do the same with other hand.
  • Rinse your hands with water.
  • Dry your hands completely with a disposable towel.
  • Use the disposable towel to turn off the tap.

Hand-washing Posters

Coughing/sneezing
  • You should always carry a tissue with you and use it to cough/sneeze into.
  • If you have coughed/sneezed into a tissue you should wash your hands and avoid touching items that others may use until you have washed your hands.
Avoid Spreading Germs
  • You should avoid putting things in your mouth, such as pens or sunglasses.
  • Ensure that all utensils are cleaned prior to use.

World Health Organisation - Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

The World Health Organisation has released a document on how to prevent the spread of the virus at your workplace.

There are several low-cost measures you can take to help keep your employees safe.

  • Surfaces (tables, desks, keyboards and telephones) need to be wiped down with a disinfectant spray or anti-bacterial wipes.
  • Promote regular hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer (Add hand sanitizer in prominent places around the workplace).
  • Encourage good respiratory hygiene by providing employees and contractors face masks and tissue to those with a cough or a runny nose.
  •  Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community, anyone with a mild cough or a low grade fever (37°C or more) needs to stay at home/work from home.
  • Develop a plan of what to do if someone becomes ill with suspected COVID-19.

Find out more information on how you can get your workplace ready for COVID-19, by clicking here.


Self-Isolation And Why Is It Important? 

Self-isolation is about protecting others and stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is very important that anyone who has or might have been exposed to the virus limits the number of people they come into contact with for 14 days. This is the most effective way of preventing the coronavirus from spreading.

If you are asked to self-isolate, it is important that you follow the advice which is there to help keep you, your loved ones, and your community safe. Self-isolation may seem tricky at first, but across the country, hundreds of people have already successfully done it. If you have been told to self-isolate, all the instructions you need to follow are on the advice sheet on home isolation fact sheet below.

Home Isolation Advice

You can also find further information on the First Option website, please see:

Covid 19 Coronavirus and Guidance

Further Sources Of Information

UK