A few days ago I got a news circular from IOSH in my in-tray and one of the items was about how to protect travelling employees from coronavirus. This piqued my interest so I did my usual trick of falling down the rabbit hole.
The IOSH item can be found here:
I know IOSH is my professional body but I found the advice a bit bland (sorry IOSH). The saving grace was a link to a real-time dashboard developed by the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University.
I have no intention of repeating any of the information or advice that is widely available on the internet about the current coronavirus outbreak. Instead I thought it might be useful to collect together a few links to those authoritative sources of info. So I have been trawling the internet so you don’t have to.
And just for info the current coronavirus outbreak is getting called different names by different sources but it has now been officially named:
The disease is called Covid-19;
The causative agent (the virus) is called 2019-nCoV.
John Hopkins University Global Dashboard
A fantastic and authoritative ‘real-time’ dashboard showing the global picture developed by the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at John Hopkins University:
There is even a ‘mobile version’ for your phone (available through the menu top right).
And check out the associated blogs that explain the data sources and have info on importation risk that may go some way to explaining why the US and Australia have closed their border to travellers from China (against WHO advice): https://systems.jhu.edu/research/public-health/ncov/
World Health Organisation
Can’t get more authoritative than this:
European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control
Brexit be damned – it’s authoritative:
Centre for Disease Control
The US equivalent:
The website may be functional but it couldn’t be more faceless and authoritarian. One of George Orwell’s most dystopian nightmares:
Foreign Office Travel Advice
From the UK government:
Travel Health Pro
The official source of UK government travel health guidance:
Health and Safety Executive
The HSE website doesn’t have any up-to-date advice or guidance for employers on novel coronavirus, probably because there have only been a few cases in the UK and those involve people who caught the disease elsewhere. Since 2019-nCoV is a ‘biological agent’ any work where workers are intentionally working with, or incidentally exposed to, the virus would come under the COSHH regulations and therefore the COSHH Biological Agents ACOP and guidance would all be relevant (https://www.hse.gov.uk/biosafety/index.htm).
And For Interest…
Here are some good examples of very informative websites including management arrangements that demonstrate the level of preparedness.
Republic of Ireland Health Service
This is what a government’s public health service website can look like:
Including good insight from their Health Protection Surveillance Centre:
Which include front-line staff risk assessment algorithms (a great insight into how these things are done for those of us who don’t work in the healthcare sector):
University of Edinburgh
Their Health and Safety Department management arrangements. Another great insight into a potentially affected organisation’s preparations:
And Finally Ronnie…
…And finally Ronnie, while the 24 hour news feeds are pumping coronavirus info at us and there is clearly concern that the virus may go pandemic in the very near future, it is important to keep a sense of proportion. Sensible risk management is the order of the day. Not knee jerk over-reaction. There are consequences associated with over-reacting just as there are consequences arising from not reacting at all or acting too late.
And remember Curie’s Law– it’s never the bus that you’re looking at that runs you over.
Dr Jim Phelpstead BSc, PhD, CMIOSH