How we should respond to the Novel Corona, COVID-19 virus.
The Covid-19 virus is only now reaching the Caribbean; at least this is what we would like to believe.
One of the challenges we face is that we receive millions of visitors from all over the world every year, and some of our citizens in the hospitality and transportation sectors are in close proximity to these visitors. They have been in close contact for many months.
No one can stop the virus from spreading; however we can erect ‘barriers’ to slow it down and contain it, and enact measures, both personally and systemically to mitigate its effects.
Experts say that most people will not get severe problems with this virus, but enough of them will; enough to break health care systems and over-tax healthcare workers.
Do we have the plans, strategy, infrastructure, resources and personnel in place to cope with this from a national or systemic point of view? It is difficult to say. In any case there is little we can do at this stage to address this. We can only call on our elected officials, our institutions, our business, social and religious leaders to move into a heightened state of awareness, and act with the urgency that this challenge requires.
On a personal level, we all, each and every citizen, must become a fighter in this battle.
Employers / Business Managers have a major role to play.
You must put into place measures to protect your customers, your staff, and family members of staff.
Here are some recommendations:
- All employees must sanitize their hands as soon as they get into the premises. Sanitizers should be put just inside entry doors. Immediately after that employees should visit the bathroom and wash hands properly before going to their work area.
- Throughout the day employees must wash hands, ie at every opportunity. Proper hand-washing procedures must be taught.
- Employees must keep an eye on each other to make sure all employees are complying.
- Employees must be advised to NOT COME IN TO WORK to work if they get symptoms.
- It must be emphasized to employees that they must educate and help family members at home to observe proper hygiene and put into place measures to keep the virus out of homes.
- Shut your business down if you can; however please follow the lead of local health authorities, in this matter.
Businesses serving the public, eg. restaurants
- Customer service staff must sanitize and wash hands regularly. Use sanitizing material that will kill viruses not just bacteria.
- You must sanitize countertops, furniture, washrooms, door handles and knobs regularly.
- Try to provide sanitizers for customer use.
- Staff must try not to get too close to customers.
- Provide appropriate literature to employees and customers.
This is a hot-bed for the spread of all types of viral sicknesses. It is difficult to control children. Schools must have special education sessions for the school children.
Schools should consider closing to help in the containment.
Everyone must try his or her best for their own safety, the safety of their family, and community.
Sanitize regularly. Keep sanitizers in your car or handbag. Sanitize your car steering wheel, hand rests, door handles, keys etc. regularly. Try to use disposable towels to hold door handles, shopping carts etc.
Everyone should try to practice social-distancing. Stay away from crowded places and work from home if possible. Consider taking your vacation at this time and stay indoors. If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, or persistent cough, or shortness of breath, try to call your doctor first. Do not go rush into a health-care facility unnecessarily. If you do have the virus you can infect your doctors, nurses, and other patients. Postpone events, weddings, parties, family gatherings etc.
Self-isolation is another important step. If you feel you are coming down with symptoms, or if you are a confirmed carrier of the virus, try to retreat to a room in the house that is away from main living quarters, and stay there for two weeks. Let your family bring food and other supplies and leave it by the door. Make your room airy and bright by opening the windows and drawing any blinds. Avoid contact with other family members. Whoever is taking care of your dishes, clothes etc must exercise due care.
These are just a few words of advice from the CaribFind.Tel team. It is not meant to serve as qualified medical advice. Ask the local health authorities about this virus, read all relevant literature and follow guidelines from your respective health authorities.
The CaribFind.Tel Team