Coronavirus Update and Disinfecting The Workplace

March 10, 2020 5:32 pm Published by

Coronavirus has increased in the UK to 280 cases as of Monday 7th March. Over the weekend the UK has seen a rise in the number of cases with an additional 100 confirmed and a man in his 60s became the UK’s third death linked to the Covid-19 virus. 

The coronavirus is highly contagious with an R0, which represents the reproductive number (the number of people which one infected person goes on to infect) of 2.2 according to WHO. To put that into perspective, influenza has an R0 of 1.3. There are reports, however, that the R0 of Coronavirus could be substantially higher. Current global infections stand at over 100,000 people with over 4000 deaths, according to official numbers. 

Infection rates are projected to increase exponentially, due to the relatively high R0 and since there is a long incubation period of up to two weeks, but reports have stated that this could be up to 30 days. Considering that an infected person can be transmitting the infection throughout the incubation period when they are showing no symptoms of infection, you can understand why the infections rates explode. 

The deputy chief medical officer for England has stated “many thousands of people” will contact coronavirus. One-fifth of the UK workforce could be absent during “peak weeks” of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the government’s coronavirus “battle plan”.

The US outlook is all too similar. Dr James Lawler, a professor at the Univerity of Nebraska Medical Centre, shared his expertise with the American Hospital Association, advising hospitals to prepare for up to 96 million coronavirus infections and 500,000 potential deaths as a worst-case scenario. 

On Tuesday, the World Health Organization’s Director-General, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that “globally, about 3.4% of reported Covid-19 cases have died”. These figures are slightly elevated in Italy, which is seeing the worst outbreak in Europe at this moment, with a fatality rate from COVID-19 at 5%. Again, these figures only grow when we look at those in a 70+ age group or those with pre-existing conditions.

Italy has now effectively placed their entire country in quarantine as their death toll has reached over 450. Italian doctors have warned medical staff across Europe to “get ready” for coronavirus as a letter revealing up to 10 per cent of those with coronavirus require intensive care. This is in line with last months joint World Health Organisation-China mission report. Stating, one in seven patients develops difficulty breathing and other severe complications, while 6% become critical. These patients typically suffer failure of the respiratory and other vital systems and sometimes develop septic shock.


Common Coronavirus Symptoms

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, an infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death. 


How Do I Protect Myself From Coronavirus?

Cleaning and Disinfecting For Coronavirus 

Coronavirus can survive at 37ºC for 2-3 days on surfaces such as glass, fabric, metal plastic and paper. At colder temperatures, this could be considerably longer. A new analysis looking at data from different types of coronavirus has shown that many strains can live on surfaces such as glass, plastic or metal, for up to nine days. It’s therefore imperative that you take extra precautions when touching high-contact point surfaces and that all surfaces are thoroughly disinfected. 

Key surface disinfecting points to follow:

  • Wear disposable gloves when cleaning and disinfecting surfaces. Gloves should be discarded after each cleaning. If reusable gloves are used, those gloves should be dedicated for cleaning and disinfection of surfaces for COVID-19 and should not be used for other purposes. Consult the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and disinfection products used. Clean hands immediately after gloves are removed.
  • If surfaces are dirty, they should be cleaned using a detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
  • For disinfection, diluted household bleach solutions, alcohol solutions with at least 60% alcohol.
    • Diluted household bleach solutions can be used if appropriate for the surface. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for application and proper ventilation. Check to ensure the product is not past its expiration date. Never mix household bleach with ammonia or any other cleanser. 


Hand-Washing for Coronavirus 

Official advice says that you should regularly wash your hands using hot water and anti-bacterial hand sanitiser for at least 20 seconds at a time. Ensure that your hands are scrubbed thoroughly using a systematic method, as seen in the diagram below. 



Alcohol gels with at least 60% alcohol content will kill viruses and bacterial but do tend to take a little bit longer to be effective – scientist say at least 60 seconds. Handwashing with soap/sanitiser and hot water is still the most effective method to use. 


Avoid Touching Your Face

On average we touch our faces 100 times per day. The coronavirus commonly enters the body through the nose, eyes and mouth, so it is important to not touch these areas. Though the government state that masks do not prevent COVID -19 infection, though a mask can act as a barrier between your hand and mouth/nose. 


Does a Mask Prevent Coronavirus Infection?

Again, the UK government states that masks do not prevent coronavirus infection. This is somewhat true. If a mask is not of a certain standard, not fitted properly (without a full seal around your mouth/nose), is too damp, overused, or not removed in accordance to strict criteria, then you are exposing yourself to infection. However, as previously mentioned, a mask can act as a barrier preventing exposed contact between your hand and lower face. 


Using Gloves To Prevent Coronavirus Infection

Having a barrier between your hands and an infected surface is advised where possible, especially if you are disinfecting surfaces using chemicals that kill coronavirus, as these chemicals may irritate your skin. If your hands have cuts or abrasions, wearing gloves will help protect against viral entry through the damaged skin.  


Eye Protection 

The coronavirus can infect through the eyes. If an infected person coughs or sneezes, then the coronavirus can be transmitted through the fine water droplets suspended in the air. Eye protection that has a full seal will help to reduce the water droplets from coming into contact with the eye. Eye protection also acts as a barrier, preventing you from rubbing your eyes, keeping you protected if your hands are contaminated. 


Coronavirus and the Workplace

 Checklist for the workplace includes:

  • routine cleaning and disinfection of frequently touched objects and surfaces such as telephones, keyboards, door handles, desks and tables
  • basic hand washing highlighted as the most effective way of preventing the spread of infection. Hand hygiene promoted by ensuring staff, contractors, service users and visitors have access to hand washing facilities and alcohol-based hand rub, where available
  • crockery and cutlery in shared kitchen areas should be cleaned with warm water and detergent and dried thoroughly
  • ensuring food such as crisps and sandwiches should not be left open for communal sharing unless individually wrapped


Contact Simply Cleaning for more advice on disinfecting the workplace. Alternatively, take further precautions, book a biohazard cleanup or our coronavirus decontamination services for offices and the workplace.

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This post was written by Tony

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