The Difference Between Quarantine/Isolation and Social Distancing

 
Quarantine/isolation and social distancing are part of the measures to reduce the risk of local transmission of COVID-19. The key difference is quarantine/isolation restricts the movement of a person to a certain zone. Whereas social distancing is a behavioural practice of keeping a safe distance between each other. It does not impose a locational constraint to a person.

The Ministry of Health (MOH) has studied the pattern of transmission amongst the locally transmitted cases, and found that many were infected during events and social gatherings, and interactions between colleagues at workplaces.

A few precautionary measures in the workplace should be in place to ensure our invaluable company’s asset (workforce), patrons and their loved ones are protected.

1. Defer

• non-critical events and gatherings.

2. Encourage

• employees to stay at home if feeling unwell.
• employees to practice good personal hygiene.
• limiting attendees and duration of meetings.

3. Ensure

• good air ventilation.
• temperature taking exercise and health & travel declaration a compulsory practice to facilitate contact tracing when necessary.
• workplace is properly cleaned and sanitized.
• physical spacing between workstations and seats in meeting rooms (of at least 1 meter apart).
• queues (e.g. outside restaurants, at retail stores) is kept fast-moving.
• patrons to keep a safe distance (of at least 1 meter apart) amongst themselves by demarcating queue, reducing operating capacity, floor marking and adopting alternate seating.

4. Facilitate

• employees to work from home and utilising technology such as video conferencing to reduce the chance of physical interactions including mingling and meal times.
• staggered working hours. Where possible, reporting and ending times should not coincide with peak-hour travel, especially if employees require the use of public transport.

5. Provide

• personal protective equipment (such as gloves and masks) to employees when necessary.

Source: https://www.moh.gov.sg/news-highlights/details/stricter-safe-distancing-measures-to-prevent-further-spread-of-covid-19-cases

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Endemic, Epidemic and Pandemic

 
The words endemic, epidemic and pandemic have been used interchangeable. However, they mean differently in denoting the extent of the spreading of infectious disease. Let’s take a look at their individual definitions and learn to use it precisely.

Endemic

An endemic refers to the constant presence and/or usual prevalence of a disease or infectious agent in a population within a given geographic area. A good example of an endemic in South America and large parts of Africa is malaria. Malaria–by virtue of being an endemic—will always be found near South American and African populations.

Epidemic

An epidemic occurs when a disease spreads rapidly amongst a large number of people in a particular region or country, making everyone sick at the same time. An epidemic can be caused by a disease that is native to that region, but starts affecting an unusually large percentage of the population, or it can be caused by a disease that is new to a particular region.

Pandemic

A pandemic is an epidemic that spreads across multiple countries across the globe at the same point in time. It spreads across continents and endangers people on a global scale.

Source: https://www.scienceabc.com/humans/whats-difference-endemic-epidemic-pandemic.html

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Epidemic Readiness in Workspace and Office

 
While a business strives to sustain and making a profit for growth, it is also exposed to various types of risk which is out of its control. A few examples are operational, economical, political and biological risk.

In view of more diverse and frequent outbreaks of diseases and infections, business needs to better prepared itself to the pandemic/epidemic threats that might jeopardize its continuity in an extremely short period of time.

A business experiences the impacts of an outbreak through its employees, suppliers and customers. Financial losses can arise because of workplace absence (quarantine order, leave of absence, Stay-Home Notice and medical leave), increased healthcare cost, disruption to business operation, supply chain disruptions, border closure and reduced customer’s footfall.

In order to tackle the biological threat, we can deploy 5 levels of controls, namely elimination, substitution, engineering controls, administrative controls and personal protective equipment (PPE).

The 5 Levels of Control

Elimination is done through suppressing the reproduction of pathogens, inhibiting cell-wall synthesis and obstruct the activity level of the pathogens. This is the most effective control measures.

Substitution is done through reducing the chance of spreading of diseases with the use of operational surveillance system and technology (robot, CCTV, video conference, drone, self-driving vehicle).

Engineering controls is through designing and build the capabilities of the first entry point in the workplace for defense against diseases and infections.

Administrative controls is through company control policy such as roster/flexible working arrangement, temperature taking exercise, health and travel declaration.

PPE is through wearing a protective clothing, helmet, goggles, mask or other garments/equipment designed to protect the wearer from infections. This is the least effective control measures.

Contagious diseases/infections can transmit through 3 forms of medium. They are liquid, gas and solid. We are working with our partners in tackling the threat with the use of eco-friendly technology and products. Approach we use to sanitize an existing space where business is already on going is very different from a workplace where it is completely new/under renovation. We can help you to minimize business disruption while achieving a safe workspace sanitization, 24/7, without going through a thorough cleaning process that might involve costly manpower costs.

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