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Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Improving the readiness and response plan in workplace


1 Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council and Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth – Deemed to be University, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpet District, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Submission29-Apr-2020
Date of Decision03-Jun-2020
Date of Acceptance03-Jul-2020

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava,
Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Shri Sathya Sai Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Balaji Vidyapeeth (SBV) – Deemed to be University, Tiruporur - Guduvancherry Main Road, Ammapettai, Nellikuppam, Chengalpaet District - 603108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/mjdrdypu.mjdrdypu_214_20

  Abstract 


The pandemic of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has impacted all the dimensions of health and even raised a significant alarm for public health authorities and community due to its rapid spread and immense incidence. In these difficult times, each and every stakeholder has an important role to play, and among all of them, employers and employees have a definite role to reduce the magnitude of the disease. One of the interventions which has been taken by the business sector is that they are encouraging employees to work from home. To address all these concerns, it is a must that all the companies should come out with a policy or a protocol to not only improve the readiness of the workplace but also simultaneously have measures for maintaining a healthy workplace and measures to prevent transmission of the infection. In conclusion, in the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, preparedness at the workplace to respond to the outbreak is of paramount importance. This can be ensured with the help and support of all the employers and employees, and all steps should be taken to maintain the health and safety of employees.

Keywords: Coronavirus disease-2019 pandemic, workplace, world health organization



How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic: Improving the readiness and response plan in workplace. Med J DY Patil Vidyapeeth [Epub ahead of print] [cited 2021 Nov 30]. Available from: https://www.mjdrdypv.org/preprintarticle.asp?id=309946




  Introduction Top


The pandemic of coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) has impacted all the dimensions of health and even raised a significant alarm for public health authorities and community due to its rapid spread and immense incidence.[1] In fact, on the global scale, a total of 2,954,222 cases and 202,597 deaths have been linked with the novel infection.[2] The European and the American regions are the most affected areas, while none of the nations are immune to the infection. The disease has been increasing at a rapid rate, and the trends of the disease clearly suggest that if we do not act now and that too swiftly, the ultimate outcome of the disease could be a lot worse, especially knowing the fact that even now we do not have any effective drug or vaccine for the effective containment of the infection.[1] The essential domains which need to be strengthened for the containment of the COVID-19 pandemic are enlisted in [Table 1].
Table 1: Critical areas for the effective containment of the infection

Click here to view



  Workplace Settings – Coronavirus Disease-2019 Top


In these difficult times, each and every stakeholder has an important role to play, whether it is in terms of preventing the acquisition of infection or ensuring that the disease is not transmitted further to other individuals. Among all of them, employers and employees have a definite role to reduce the magnitude of the disease and the dreadful aftereffects of the disease on the community.[3] We have to acknowledge the fact that the COVID-19 infection has become a part of our life and we can acquire the infection both in workplace settings or while carrying out the daily routine. Thus, it is a must to strictly adhere to the standard infection prevention and control provisions specified by the public health authorities regardless of the settings.

The findings of a descriptive study done in a city in North-Eastern part of China revealed that ten confirmed cases of the disease were reported in workplace settings, which then subsequently got transmitted to four different families, in which seven people were diagnosed with the disease later.[4] This is just one incident like this and many incidents have been reported in different disease-affected nations and keeping this into account, it is our utmost responsibility to ensure that the safety of the workplace needs to be maintained.[4]


  Coronavirus Disease-2019 among Health Care Professionals Top


The report released by the World Health Organization on April 11, 2020, revealed that more than 22,000 health-care professionals have acquired the novel viral infection in 52 nations alone.[5] These estimates are just the tip of the iceberg, as the disease currently has been reported in 216 nations and territories.[5] Further, estimates from the National Health Commission of China reported that in excess of 3300 health professionals are diagnosed with the infection as of early March.[6] Moreover, it was reported that 20% of the health professionals engaged in providing care to the COVID-19 cases have been infected, while some of them have succumbed to the infection as well.[6]


  Implemented Interventions Top


One of the interventions which has been taken by the business sector is that they are encouraging employees to work from home and thus reduce the possibility of acquisition of infection. At the same time, webinars have been organized by the international agencies to increase the awareness level of people about upscaling the readiness and response to the pandemic at the workplace.[2] In these webinars, employees inquired about the probability of transmission of the disease in the workplace, effectiveness of personal protective equipment in reducing the risk of acquisition of infection, provision of rapid diagnostic tests in the workplace, clarity about the return to work, and measures for the improvement of the mental well-being of the employees.[2] To address all these concerns, it is a must that all the companies should come out with a policy or a protocol to not only improve the readiness of the workplace but also simultaneously have measures for maintaining a healthy workplace and measures to prevent transmission of the infection.[2],[3]


  Maintaining a Healthy Workplace Top


In terms of maintaining a healthy workplace environment, measures should be taken to promote regular handwashing and respiratory hygiene by all the employees, supply of alcohol-based gels, cleaning of workplace periodically by disinfectants, and ensuring good ventilation.[3],[7] In addition, a reporting system and quarantine space in the workplace should be established and psychosocial support should be extended to the employees.[2]


  Preventing Transmission in Workplace Top


For reducing the risk of transmission between humans, work from home is ideal, but in case it is not possible (like in hospital or bank), strategies such as implementation of social distancing, reducing the number of visitors, organizing meetings with a minimal number of participants, and reducing unnecessary travel should be implemented.[3] In addition, symptomatic people have to be self-quarantined and febrile people should be discouraged to come to work. Finally, awareness sessions should be organized at the workplace to improve the knowledge of the employees about the various aspects of the disease.[1],[4]


  Conclusion Top


In the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, preparedness at the workplace to respond to the outbreak is of paramount importance. This can be ensured with the help and support of all the employers and employees, and all steps should be taken to maintain the health and safety of employees.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
Ward MP, Li X, Tian K. Novel coronavirus 2019, an emerging public health emergency. Transbound Emerg Dis 2020;67:469-70.  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report; 2020. p. 126. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200428-sitrep-99-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=119fc381_2. [Last accessed on 2020 May 26].  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Getting your workplace Ready for COVID-19. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2020. p. 1-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Zhang Y, Su X, Chen W, Fei CN, Guo LR, Wu XL, et al. Epidemiological investigation on a cluster epidemic of COVID-19 in a collective workplace in Tianjin. Zhonghua Liu Xing Bing Xue Za Zhi 2020;41:648-52.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report– 82; 2020. https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200411-sitrep-82-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=74a5d15_2. [Last accessed on 2020 May 26].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
The Lancet. COVID-19: Protecting health-care workers. Lancet 2020;395:922.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: World Health Organization Press; 2020. p. 1-20.  Back to cited text no. 7
    



 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1]



 

 
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  In this article
   Abstract
  Introduction
   Workplace Settin...
   Coronavirus Dise...
   Implemented Inte...
   Maintaining a He...
   Preventing Trans...
  Conclusion
   References
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