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SHORT COMMUNICATION
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 117-118

Measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in workplace settings: Public health perspective


1 Department of Community Medicine, Member of the Medical Education Unit and Institute Research Council, 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 Submission25-Mar-2020
Date of Decision27-Aug-2020
Date of Acceptance08-Sep-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Jan-2021

Correspondence Address:
Saurabh RamBihariLal Shrivastava
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 - 603 108, Tamil Nadu
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/jms.jms_22_20

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  Abstract 


The ongoing global coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared as a pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern, and also as a disease which has shown a very high risk of global transmission. The available evidence suggests that the disease is being transmitted through close contacts or through droplets and thus the probability of acquiring the infection at workplace becomes very high, wherein a group of people work in constrained settings. This calls for the need to implement specific measures to minimize the probability of acquisition of infection. In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, it is a must that it should be kept clean and hygienic and practices to promote better respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene should be envisaged. Further, specific interventions should be taken to improve the mental health of the employees by supporting them to alleviate their fear and anxiety associated with the disease. In conclusion, the effective containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a multisectoral approach and thus, we have to get our workplace ready and ensure the safety of the employees and be together in our battle against the novel infection.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic, workplace, World Health Organization


How to cite this article:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in workplace settings: Public health perspective. J Med Soc 2020;34:117-8

How to cite this URL:
Shrivastava SR, Shrivastava PS. Measures to contain the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic in workplace settings: Public health perspective. J Med Soc [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Mar 2];34:117-8. Available from: https://www.jmedsoc.org/text.asp?2020/34/2/117/307895



The ongoing global coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak has been declared as a pandemic, a public health emergency of international concern, and also as a disease which has shown a very high risk of global transmission.[1] The available estimates clearly suggest that the incidence of the disease has increased to 372,757 cases, while 16,231 deaths have also been reported among the diagnosed patients.[1] At present, the European region and the Western Pacific region together account for almost 78.3% of the global caseload and 84.3% of the reported deaths worldwide.[1] All these estimates are quite alarming and clearly suggest the need to be proactive and mount an accelerated response in all the settings to prevent the loss of human lives.[1],[2]

The available evidence suggests that the disease is being transmitted through close contacts with the confirmed case and through the droplets which are released by a case while coughing or sneezing. These released droplets get settled on nearby objects (viz., table, railings, and phones) and once people touch these contaminated surfaces and then again touch their own eyes/nose/mouth, they acquire the infection.[2] It is quite obvious that the exposure to the infection can occur anywhere, including the workplace and thus specific measures should be taken to minimize the probability of acquisition of infection.[2],[3] Any actions taken by the employers are bound to reduce sickness absenteeism and even minimize the probability of reduction in the productivity by decreasing the chances of transmission.[3]

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace, it is a must that it should be kept clean and hygienic and practices to promote better respiratory hygiene and hand hygiene should be envisaged.[2],[3] This will essentially include provision of sanitizer, soap, and water; posters depicting steps for hand washing or cough etiquette; and sensitization of workers about the disease and how the disease is being transmitted and thus the need to avoid unnecessary travel.[3],[4] In the workplace, meetings are inevitable, but they often act as the main place for the onward transmission of the disease. Thus, before organizing any such meeting, it is important to assess whether it requires a face-to-face interaction or whether the number of persons who are attending the meeting can be reduced further.[3] After all considerations, if the meeting is still necessary, the organizers should arrange for tissues, hand sanitizers, and surgical masks prior to the meeting to avert any untoward incidents.[4] Finally, the contact details and the address of all the members present for the meeting need to be obtained so that contact tracing can be done, if the need arises.[3]

In case an individual becomes symptomatic, there should be a place for isolation and a plan for the safe transfer of the individual to a health-care establishment.[2],[3] Obviously, the details of the contacts need to be retained for at least 30 days and followed up, if the need arises. Moreover, all the workplaces should devise a plan for the care of an employee who becomes ill with the suspected infection and a network for periodic communication with employees, advising them to avoid crowded places and public transport means.[2],[3],[4] Further, specific interventions should be taken to improve the mental health of the employees by supporting them to alleviate their fear and anxiety associated with the disease.[3]

In conclusion, the effective containment of the COVID-19 pandemic requires a multisectoral approach and thus, we have to get our workplace ready and ensure the safety of the employees and be together in our battle against the novel infection.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
World Health Organization. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Situation Report – 64. World Health Organization; 2020. Available from: https://www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/situation-reports/20200324-sitrep-64-covid-19.pdf?sfvrsn=703b2c40_2. [Last accessed on 2020 Mar 25].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
World Health Organization. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019nCoV): Strategic Preparedness and Response Plan. Geneva: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-3.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
World Health Organization. Getting your Workplace Ready for COVID-19. Geneva: WHO press; 2020. p. 1-8.  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Cheng VC, Wong SC, To K, Ho PL, Yuen KY. Preparedness and proactive infection control measures against the emerging novel coronavirus in China. J Hosp Infect 2020;104:254-5.  Back to cited text no. 4
    




 

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