The coronavirus outbreak is making the headlines and experts are saying that it is highly likely that the UK will soon be affected. Therefore, the below are some pointers for employers to consider when dealing with this potential pandemic:
- Look after the health and safety of your workforce by carrying out risk assessments to ensure that their work does not pose undue risks. In particular, consider limiting business travel to high-risk and nearby areas.
- Keep up to date with Government advice and educate your workforce.
- Promote good hygiene practices within your workplace.
- Review and, if necessary, update your policies dealing with sickness and time off for dependents.
- Obtain up to date emergency contact details for each employee in case you need to contact them or their relatives.
- Consider how your business will cope if lots of employees are taken ill at once or are absent from work for long periods.
- Check your insurance policies and evaluate whether you need any keyman insurance cover.
- Think about whether you want to alter your normal working practices (such as asking sick employees to remain at home until they have had medical advice that they are not infectious).
Cases of the new strain of coronavirus in the UK are "highly likely", a Public Health England (PHE) boss has said. However, most of those affected abroad by the virus were making a good recovery, Prof Paul Cosford, medical director at PHE, added. Tests on 14 people in the UK have come back negative, the chief medical officer for England, Chris Whitty, said. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the risk to the public "remains low". Globally, there are more than 800 confirmed cases of the virus, which has killed 26 people in China.