Measures by Companies Against the Covid-19 / Corona Virus

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Saskia Constantinou
Journalist, Cyprus

Measures by Companies Against the Covid-19 / Corona Virus

It affects almost everyone in the world – the Corona Virus also known as Covid-19. It has put countries in lockdown, forced businesses to close or work on minimal staff, cancelled gatherings and put the economic world into a state of disarray.

Shelly Hovic, Assistant Professor of Communication at the Ohio State University highlights in a new study published in the peer reviewed journal "Risk Analysis", that the Zika virus and Covid-19 have important things in common: “They are both shrouded in uncertainty and have received a lot of media attention.”

How do people seek and process information in a time of so much uncertainty?

Interestingly, the data showed that even if someone is in a situation of low risk, a lack of information may make people feel they are at high risk. However, with the Zika virus, people who did not feel they knew enough, did not spend time seeking further information. But they did spend more time processing the information they uncovered.
Hovic notes that it is important that “Messages be shaped to encourage people to stay on top of the situation, particularly in high-uncertainty environments.”

What should companies be doing? Give accurate advice to your employees in line with the World Health Organisation and ensure an emergency plan for employees to work from home as much as possible. Following physical and mental measures may also be helpful in order to deal with the Corona virus:

PHYSICAL HEALTH MEASURES
  1. Frequent hand washing with alcohol-based hand rub or even better, with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Maintain social distancing of at least 1 metre from anyone who is coughing or sneezing. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets if the person coughing has the disease.
  3. Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth as hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses.
  4. Cover your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze and dispose of the used tissue immediately.
  5. If you have a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, seek medical care early and follow the directions of your local health authority.
MENTAL HEALTH MEASURES
  1. As Covid-19 has and is likely to affect people from many countries, don't attack ethnicity or nationality. Be empathetic.
  2. Don't refer to people with the disease as ‘Covid-19 cases', ‘victims', or ‘diseased' – they are ‘people who have Covid-19' or ‘people being treated for Covid-19.'
  3. Protect yourself and be supportive to others. Assisting others in time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.
  4. For those in isolation, stay connected and maintain your social networks. Try as much as possible to keep your personal daily routines.
References:
Watanabe, T., Bartrand, T. et al (2010) Development of a Dose-Response Model for SARS Coronavirus Risk Analaysis Volume 30, Issue 7
Hubner, A.Y., Hovick, Shelly R. Understanding Risk Information Seeking and Processing during an Infectious Disease Outbreak: The Case of Zika Virus. Neuroscience News
Mental Health Considerations during COVID-19 Outbreak. (March 2020) World Health Organisation.

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