Coronavirus: Map Of Affected Areas, and How to Protect Your Workplace

Nebosh By Matthew Coombes

The viral outbreak of coronavirus causing worldwide concern is still underway, with many asking how they can personally mediate the spread of this new and very serious strain. The name “corona” actually refers to a family of viruses, and the new virus originating in China is officially called Covid-19. Though news coverage has sparked some panic internationally, only around 20 percent of cases have been classified “severe” with just two percent of infections leading to death.

Alarming reports of the spread of this virus have had people in the UK wondering whether they should be concerned. Here at ACT Associates, we want to do our part to share what’s known about the outbreak, and help people make informed choices to help curb the spread in their workplaces. Let’s look at some of the facts.

Rapid spread

Around 80,000 cases are confirmed so far, albeit most occurring in China. Of these, more than 2,000 have proven fatal.

However, in the UK, only a small number of confirmed cases have been identified to date, with no fatalities. It’s been identified that an individual may have acted as a “Super Spreader”, a British traveller unknowingly brought the virus back with him from a conference in Singapore, after first stopping in France where he inadvertently infected 11 people. These people then went on to bring the virus to the UK.

As each new UK case emerges, patients are being sent to specialist hospitals in London for treatment and containment of the disease.

The National Infection Service at Public Health England is now working urgently to trace the path of the virus to identify any other potential cases, and those who’ve come into contact with known cases. Though the police now have the power to forcefully hold those with the virus under quarantine, it’s proving difficult to track the spread as the infection rate accelerates, and there is a two-week incubation period before symptoms show.

There is evidence that two British doctors have unwittingly spread the virus, with a Brighton doctors’ practice being closed after a member of staff was found to be infected. A private school in Wales and a school in Southampton have taken measures, by banning pupils from visiting China and isolating those who had already visited south east Asia, respectively. Three other schools in the UK have closed.

At-risk areas

 Five of the confirmed cases thus far have been linked to the Brighton area, with a local GP and an A&E doctor at Worthing identified as carriers. West Sussex University has also confirmed that a student is being currently tested for infection, although the results have not been shared. Public Health England has advised two pupils from Cottesmore St Mary’s Catholic School in Brighton to stay home for two weeks after contracting the virus.

So far, the virus has affected:

  • York – 2 confirmed cases. Two Chinese nationals unconnected to the “Super Spreader”
  • Newcastle – no confirmed cases, although patients from York transported here for treatment
  • Brighton – 5 confirmed cases, including two doctors. A toddler from West Sussex is being tested for infection, but results are currently unknown
  • London – Cases from Brighton are being treated here; a London Chinese national is the 9th confirmed case of coronavirus
  • Milton Keynes – 105 quarantined
  • Oxford – 1 quarantined
  • Confirmed cases of British Citizens from the Japanese cruise ship, The Diamond Princess
  • A school in Derbyshire has shut after a confirmed Coronavirus cases following a trip to Northern Italy
  • The rest of the country has not been affected

Preventing potential spread in the workplace

The WHO has declared the corona virus outbreak an international emergency, but it should be noted that this concern is primarily for developing countries that may not be able to contain the spread of the virus as effectively. The virus is not yet a pandemic and shows little evidence of spreading significantly outside of China.

Though some panic is understandable, most UK health authorities are recommending the public stay calm. Compared to previous well-known influenza outbreaks over the last century, with death tolls in the millions, the Covid-19 virus is proving to be on a smaller and more manageable scale.

As with any flu virus, the spread can be greatly hindered by simple hygiene practices such as:

  • Washing your hands thoroughly
  • Wearing a face mask if you are unwell
  • Self-isolation. Many employers have put into place a scheme that allows employees to work from home if they show flu-like symptoms.
  • Some employers have implemented a remote working scheme for those who feel ill – it is worth seeing if your place of work will do the same
  • Contact health officials if you notice worrying symptoms
  • Immediately call the NHS on 111 if you’ve recently been to China or Asia and suspect you’ve come into contact with the illness.
  • It is important to note that you must not visit your local GP or hospital if you have visible symptoms. You must call 111 and someone will be sent out to you.

Thankfully, the original case identified in the UK, the British traveller/”Super spreader” has recovered fully from his infection and has been released, no longer serving any threat to the public. Countless others who have been quarantined have also been released after testing negative for the virus. Though the epidemic is at present unpredictable, most areas of the country have not been affected, and officials are working to contain the situation where necessary.

 

 


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