Here is what you can do about the Virus, for now

It seems all of a sudden the media is full of ‘news’, ‘analysis’, ‘recommendations’ of all kinds, with rumors flying around in various forms, as usual.

If you, as security managers, have also received inquiries about precautions or travel advisories from your employees, here are something for your reference before you provide them with an answer in hesitation.

Question 1 – Do we need to issue a travel ban or restriction?

I will say no.

It is stated on the WHO website “Based on currently available information, WHO does not recommend any
restriction of travel or trade. Countries are encouraged to continue
strengthening their preparedness for health emergencies in line with the
International Health Regulations (2005).


Travel ban is often misused as if it were a cure-all medicine. But a hotheaded travel ban without adequate knowledge adds misgiving to panic only. That’s what a hasty travel ban often does to people’s psychology.

Unless the WHO decides to declare another Public Health Emergency of International Concerns, which it will announce soon, I suggest you hold the rein for now and keep monitoring the situation.

Question 2 – What can be done for prevention?

Let’s not talk about prevention as no one knows how yet.
Instead, my suggestions to security managers are as follow:

  • Offices, factories, business outlets, all your facilities, need a regular disinfection on a daily basis.
  • Provide your employees with masks. (optional)
  • Provide portable hand-washer or disinfectant to your employees. (optional)
  • Spot those with fever symptoms and consider reasonable separation of the sick.
  • Get your BCP ready, and initiate your back-up plan of work-from-home if there was massive absenteeism.
  • Be prepared for contingencies such as your facility being segregated for quarantine.

Question 3 – What measures can be taken for personal health protection?

There are many that some countries and organizations have already taken or advised:

(1) (U.S.) CDC

Warning – Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert – Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch – Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

Travelers to Wuhan should

  • Avoid contact with sick people.
  • Avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and products that come from animals (such as uncooked meat).
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20
    seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not
  • Older travelers and those with underlying health issues
    may be at risk for more severe disease and should discuss travel to
    Wuhan with their healthcare provider.

If you traveled to Wuhan and feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should

  • Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a
    doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your
    recent travel and your symptoms.
  • Avoid contact with others.
  • Not travel while sick. 
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20
    seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not

(2) The government of Canada, labeling it as level 1 (Practise usual precautions), has advised some tips for travelers.

Recommendations for travellers to Wuhan city

During your trip:

   Avoid high-risk areas such as farms, live animal markets, and areas where animals may be slaughtered.

   Avoid contact with animals (alive or dead), including pigs, chickens, ducks and wild birds.

   Avoid surfaces with animal droppings or secretions on them.

   Avoid contact with sick people, especially if they have fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.

Travellers are reminded to follow usual health precautions:

Wash your hands often

   Wash your hands often with soap under warm running water for at least 20 seconds.

   Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer only if soap and water are not available. It’s a good idea to always keep some with you when you travel.

Practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette:

   Cover your mouth and nose with your arm to reduce the spread of germs.

   If you use a tissue, dispose of it as soon as possible and wash your hands afterwards.

Monitor your health:

If you become sick when you are travelling or after you return, avoid contact with others except to see a health care professional. Tell them:

   your symptoms;

   where you have been travelling or living;

   if you have had direct contact with animals (for example: visited a live animal market) or close contact with a sick person.

(3) The ECDC (European Center for Disease Prevention and Control) has published on Jan 17 a rapid risk assessment on the Wuhan virus.

Click to download the full report:

RAPID RISK ASSESSMENTCluster of pneumonia cases caused by a novel coronavirus, Wuhan, China


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