• Cushla
    Hi All,
    I am interested to know what other businesses are doing regarding advice around Coronavirus. I have seen a letter to parents from one school requiring those students who travelled to the Wuhan, Hubei Province, China or any of the affected countries (or who have been in contact with a person who has confirmed Coronavirus) to remain away from school for 7 days after their arrival back in New Zealand. Have you requested the same from staff?
  • MattD2
    Where did the school get the 7 days from? Latest I have seen (https://www.jwatch.org/fw116282/2020/01/27/novel-coronavirus-incubation-period-lasts-2-weeks) is the incubation period is up to 2 weeks so they may want to rethink their plan there.
  • Chris Anderson
    I would follow the Ministry of Health Guidelines for infectious diseases:


    There is nothing specific for Coronavirus as it isn't an issue for NZ at the moment. The seasonal flu will have a bigger impact so it would be more important to prepare for this.
  • MattD2
    There is nothing specific for Coronavirus as it isn't an issue for NZ at the moment. The seasonal flu will have a bigger impact so it would be more important to prepare for this.Chris Anderson
    While no case have been reported so far in NZ, there are now 5 confirmed cases in Australia - so it is not unlikely to be a potential issue here as well.
    Given the incubation/infectious periods are much different to influenza an approach similar to measles may be more appropriate - e.g. identifying potentially infected people and apply quarantine periods (from the last potential infection contact) until no signs of infection is confirmed.
    The hard part is knowing if someone has potentially been infected (and part of this is to get people to understand and think where they could of been infected) - again take measles as an example, commonly we see news regarding the discovery of a person infected with measles traveling by airplane and the call for anyone on the same flight to consider quarantining themselves from others that are at a high risk from a measles infection.

    As for the original question, my suggestion would be to: provide employees with good information on how they can get infected, where they may have been infected and what to do if they think they may have been potentially exposed to an infected person. Where they may have been infected will initially be as the school have said so far - traveled to China or any of the affected countries, or who have been in contact with a person who has confirmed Coronavirus; but as more information comes to light updated to include travel on specific flight numbers etc.
    If they think they might be infected - instructions to stay away from work, call in to discuss with management, and then plan for how to initially deal with potentially up to 2 weeks away from work while we wait to see. If they have come to work and potentially infected others this creates a bigger issue so at first the important thing is to get the info out there with the message that we'd rather a missed day or 2 while we check things out if we're not sure than to risk it and have to quarantine a much larger portion of staff.
  • Cushla

    Hi Matt, the letter from the school I had seen was sent out before the 2 week incubation period came to light. What you suggested is exactly the way we are heading :-)
  • MattD2
    Fair enough on the school's part, the situation is changing each day with new info.

    One other point I thought of to consider is to potentially identify any high risk people in your organisation and consider if any proactive measures could be implemented around them - such as anyone who is pregnant or has a immunodeficiency, and how they could be at an increased risk e.g. contact with general public, etc.
    While the risk is low at the moment with no suspected/confirmed case in NZ - a bit of planning around who would be on this list, or how you would quickly establish this list would be a positive step (and wouldn't necessarily be a waste of effort as it can be used for other infectious/pandemic cases such as a severe flu season).
  • Andrew
    Its China, 1.4b people where they are eating live wild animals during the coldest month in the middle of the flu season and 100 have died. Well colour me surprised.

    I'm not so old that I remember the 1918 pandemic but I do clearly remember the Bird Flu and SARS pandemics and the appalling waste of money pumped into those events. And also I am sorry to say the shameful behaviour of those in the safety "professions" who killed forests coming up with polices and procedures in response.

    So I'm going to offer you all you will ever need - for free.
    - Dont fret
    - Wash your hands
    - Cough politely.

    Thats all that needs to be said and all that needs to be done.

    And the truly amazing thing is that this protocol applies to all contagious health issues that we should already be following. (which doesnt stop 500 people in NZ dying of flu each year)
  • Sheri Greenwell
    We circulated to all employees a simple poster for minimising the risks of spreading any virus.

    We also circulated to managers a document with information collated from various news sources so managers could provide answers if anyone came to them with questions.

    It's very important that we avoid creating panic while still encouraging people to take appropriate precautions.
    Questions and Answers - Coronavirus (32K)
  • Sharyn Foote
    The Ministry of Health website should be your first source of truth, or the briefings from the Director-General of Health.
    All other Government agencies will take their lead from the MoH.
  • Alex
    So far, we have put out some comms to all staff emphasising basic hygiene measures and the fact that we have business continuity plans (BCPs). The Operations managers are reviewing the BCPs and were checking our stocks of gloves and masks etc.

    We come in under an ‘essential service’ category so can’t shut down in an emergency so pandemic plans revolve around keeping people separate- working from home or alternate locations, teduc8bg contact at the depot etc
  • Trudy Downes
    We're doing the same as Alex.
    Basic hygiene practices, business continuity and conversations.

    Am also using the MoH influenza pandemic "be prepared" pamphlet for people to prepare their own houses in case they have to quarantine at home.
  • rebecca telfer
    We are also doing the same Alex, constant communication with our staff, posters and information on what websites they can tap into along with more hand sanitiser stations.
    Unfortunately we do have staff that need to travel overseas for training so they are well informed before they leave the country.
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