Coronavirus is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. The government advise the risk to individuals in the UK remains low.
To date (18th February), nine patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus. Worldwide the coronavirus has infected more than 72,436 people, with the vast majority of cases occurring inside the Hubei province of China.
Early symptoms of the virus include a dry cough, a fever, shortness of breath and a sore throat.
The virus is more likely to progress into a severe illness or prove fatal among older patients or those with weakened immune systems. There is no specific cure for the coronavirus; it’s a viral infection so antibiotics won’t help.
The UK’s Chief Medical Officers are advising anyone who has travelled to the UK from mainland China, Thailand, Japan, Republic of Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia or Macau in the last 14 days and is experiencing cough or fever or shortness of breath, to stay indoors and call NHS 111, even if symptoms are mild.
The UK government has been working in close collaboration with international colleagues and the World Health Organisation to monitor the situation in China and around the world.
What do Employers need to know?
It’s important for companies to have access to up to date information on coronavirus to be able to deal with a situation arising in the workplace.
Should an employee fall ill whilst at work or phone in sick with suspected coronavirus, the line manager’s advice should follow that of the UK government and advise the employee to stay at home and call NHS 111.
The employee should still report their absence in line with the Company’s sickness and absence policy.
As always when an employee has been absence from work, the employer has a duty of care to ensure the employee is fit for work upon return. Conducting a return to work interview enables the line manager to assess the employee’s health, whist also giving them an opportunity to identify any underlying trends or problems.
If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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