Employers brace for impact as coronavirus cases rise in the UK.

Protocols adopted to prevent virus spread.

UK employers are rapidly putting in place action plans to stem the outbreak of coronavirus amongst their employees, with nearly 100 companies so far having adopted a coronavirus protocol led by the UK’s leading workforce absence management system, FirstCare.

FirstCare manages the absence protocol for over 100 businesses and 200,000 employees in the UK and their nurse-led call centre has experienced an increasing demand to put in place bespoke advice for employees concerned that they are affected by coronavirus.

So far there has been over 44 coronavirus related calls taken by nurses and this number is expected to continue to rise. FirstCare’s team has experience in undertaking similar exercises for swine flu and SARS, and nurses are carrying out an initial triage in order to advise employees who may be at risk to undertake a series of measures, such as NOT attending a GP surgery, A&E unit or hospital before calling NHS 111, in order to help contain the outbreak until they can be fully diagnosed.

Containing the outbreak as much as possible at this critical stage will be imperative in order to minimise the effect of the outbreak on staff, businesses and the UK economy as a whole, and growing numbers of UK companies are seeking to put rigorous measures in place to prevent the virus spreading.

“UK businesses are increasingly concerned about the impact coronavirus could have on their workforce, and as a result are putting in place stringent protocols to ensure that the virus does not spread between employees,” said Ian Caminsky, chief executive officer at FirstCare. “Our call centre has already received enquiries from employees concerned they have the virus and our nurses have been briefed to ascertain the level of risk from the virus.

“Businesses are now paying closer attention to employees returning to the UK from areas inside and around mainland China,” he added. “Fourteen-day work-from-home restrictions are not yet being applied in these cases, but employers are ensuring such workers are clear on the next steps to take should symptoms develop.”

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