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20/03/2020

HR Policy - CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19): - David White

POLICY: CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

This guidance should serve as the foundation for organisational decisions about health- and legal-risk mitigation. Being able to demonstrate corporate policy alignment with official recommendations can be an important legal safeguard in cases where the company's infection-control efforts are challenged.

The priority for governments and the global community is to prevent people from contracting the disease and to cure those who do. Given the virus' rapid contagion, action can help ensure that countries' health systems --including those that have limited capacity -- do not become overwhelmed. Regulations specific to Covid-19 have not as yet been published. Such regulations shall override an employer's HR Policy and Procedure.

Biology
The coronavirus, or COVID-19, as the new virus is called, will cause symptoms similar to the influenza virus (common flu). The most common symptoms are fever (88%) and dry cough (68%). Exhaustion (38%), expectoration of mucus when coughing (33%), shortness of breath (18%), sore throat (14%), headaches (14%), muscle aches (14%), chills (11%) are also common. Less frequent are nausea and vomiting (5%), stuffy nose (5%) and diarrhoea (4%). Running nose is not a symptom of COVID-19.

Spread of the virus is most often (78-85%) caused by an infection within the family by droplets and other carriers of infection in close contact with an infected person. Transmission by fine aerosols in the air over long distances is not one of the main causes of spread.

The vast majority of those infected sooner or later develop symptoms. Cases of people in whom the virus has been detected and who do not have symptoms at that time are rare - and most of them fall ill in the next few days. The duration from the beginning of the disease until recovery is only two weeks on average for the mildly ill but can be longer for severe and critical patients.

Pandemic
COVID-19 is a pandemic, which means that it is present all over the world. The greatest threat lies in the mass hysteria that media has created calling it a 'deadly' virus and making people believe that we will die. In South Africa, 11,000 people die every year of influenza. The proportion of people infected with influenza who die is 0.1-2%. The variation depends on the different strain of flu virus each year.

The estimated number of people that have died from COVID-19 is between 1.4-3.4%. This number is very difficult to calculate as it requires that you know the total number of people that were infected. For example, if 3 people out of 100 people died, the death rate would be 3%. But if there were in fact 1000 people who were actually infected but 900 of them never had themselves tested, the real number would be 3 deaths out of 1000 people, and the death rate would be 0.3%.

The chance of dying depends on your age, gender and other pre-existing conditions. In China it is shown that women and men are equally infected by the virus, but men were more likely to die. It is hypothesised that this may be because in China the majority of men smoke, whereas almost none of the women do.

The younger you are, the less likely you are to be infected and the less likely you are to fall seriously ill if you do get infected. However, your personal likelihood of getting infected or die is influenced by other risk factors, such as cancer, uncontrolled diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases and being immune compromised.
Click HR Policy - CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19):
david@drg.co.za

 POLICY - COVID-19_19 March 2020.pdf


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