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The Coronavirus, or Covid-19, has infected more than 75 000 people and at least 2 000 have died from the virus. Africa has remained untouched by the virus, according to official records. The delay the virus has taken to arrive in the country (yet, hopefully remains that way) gave the health department time to prepare. Businesses can take a page from the book of government and start hoping for the best but planning for the worst.

The managing director of MasterDrive, Eugene Herbert, explains that businesses should have a strategy in place to deal with the fallout should one of their fleet drivers contract the Coronavirus. “Your drivers are the employees most likely to come into contact with a larger amount of people. Should the virus spread to South Africa they will be at risk, and consequently so will the rest of your workforce.

“What every company should have done by now is create an opportunity for anyone who has travelled to a high-risk area recently to be tested. If the virus reaches South Africa, share information with your drivers on high-risk interactions and then what recourse to follow if they have close contact with someone who falls ill. To protect your employees and the future of your company, you should do whatever you can to make testing accessible to your fleet drivers.”

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If someone in your workforce is diagnosed with the virus the Centre for Disease Control (CDC) in the USA recommends following these steps to prevent its spread. “Firstly, encourage sick employees to stay at home until they have been tested and are no longer contagious. If a sick employee does arrive at work sick or starts to feel ill during the day, separate them from the rest of the workforce. Lastly, encourage healthy hygiene habits amongst your workforce and institute your own regular cleaning routines if you have not already done so.

“Have a strategy in place that plans what to do should large portions of your fleet fall ill or be placed in quarantine. The virus has the potential to incapacitate an entire fleet. If you let it catch you by surprise, your business may not come out on the other side of the illness looking healthy.”

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Lastly, take steps to help employees boost their immune systems. “Speak to a healthcare provider about how your fleet can boost their immunity and health in general. While the flu injection is useless to stop the Coronavirus, there are other things that employees can do to best prepare themselves should the virus reach South Africa.”

Do not let the Coronavirus catch you by surprise and start taking steps to prepare for it now, so that both your employees and business emerge healthy and strong when the pandemic ends.