EDITOR'S NOTE: In the two weeks since this article was written, several major changes have taken place, particularly in regards to how organizations are dealing with the virus. There is an increased seriousness in attempting to mitigate the spread of the virus.
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), simply referred to as the "coronavirus", is undoubtedly the latest global health scare. It was first discovered in Wuhan, China in December 2019 and has since affected citizens of countries all around the world. The fears have escalated in recent weeks, and the World Health Organization has even raised its Risk Assessment of the coronavirus to "Very High", the highest level it can administer.
Companies and organizations worldwide have taken drastic measures to avoid the spread of the virus. The Boston Globe reported on Tuesday that Chih-Jung Liu, a Taiwanese baseball prospect for the Boston Red Sox, was quarantined in a hotel room upon his arrival at the team's spring training in Fort Myers, Florida. Even the 2020 Olympics this summer are in jeopardy of cancellation over the virus.
UPDATE: Several major sports leagues, including the NBA and NHL, have suspended games indefinitely. The MLB has delayed Opening Day and cancelled spring training, and the NCAA has cancelled March Madness tournament games, including conference play, as well as all other spring sports championships.
Regardless of whether these measures are considered necessary, the point remains clear: measures should be taken to avoid potential exposure to the coronavirus. So, how can your business do the same? The following precautions are good areas to start, especially with employees who travel or are planning to travel in the imminent future:
- Practice "social distancing"; keep a minimum of 6 feet away from others at all times to minimize the risk of spread of disease by cough or sneeze.
- Avoid contact with wild animals (alive or dead).
- Ensure meat is thoroughly cooked before consumption.
- Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly.
- Avoid contact with individuals who are ill.
- Delay travel plans if you have a weak immune system or have underlying health issues.
- Travelers have also been advised by the CDC to monitor their health and seek immediate medical attention if any respiratory symptoms occur.
These common-sense precautions can go a long way in avoiding contact with the coronavirus.