Coronavirus (Covid-19) – advice for staff

Coronavirus advice for employees as at 17 March 2020

NOTE: This message is copied from BBC official website so read carefully.

Please use the Gateway page for the latest corporate advice. The information below is focused around the health and safety elements.

Signs and symptoms of COVID-19

The following symptoms may develop:

  • a high temperature or fever
  • a new continuous cough

Generally, these infections can cause more severe symptoms in people with weakened immune systems, older people, and those with long-term conditions like diabetes, cancer and chronic lung disease.

See gateway for advice for colleagues with underlying health conditions. If you are concerned about your own health use the online NHS 111 service, your GP / a medical practitioner.

Health advice if you have Coronavirus symptoms [17 March 2020]

The current focus is towards individual health not whether someone has returned from an affected area. If you have signs and symptoms you should take action as advised below.

  • The most common symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) are recent onset of a new continuous cough and/or high temperature. If you have these symptoms, however mild, stay at home and do not leave your house for 7 days from when your symptoms started. You do not need to call NHS 111 to go into self-isolation. If your symptoms worsen during home isolation or are no better after 7 days, contact NHS 111 online. If you have no internet access, you should call NHS 111. For a medical emergency dial 999.
  • A cough may persist for several weeks in some people, despite the coronavirus infection having cleared. A persistent cough alone does not mean you must continue to self-isolate for more than 7 days.
  • If you live with other people, all household members have to stay at home for 14 days. The 14-day period starts from the day when the first person in the house became ill
  • Wash your hands more often than usual, for 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
  • To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve (not your hands) if you don’t have a tissue, and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use a hand sanitising gel.
  • If someone has symptoms whilst working in the office they should go home. The person should inform their line manager. Anyone else should carry on. If a localised cleaning is required, dial 0490 contact Workplace.

Colleagues continue to work if they are well and free of symptoms. The advice to “stay at home” relates specifically to those people that have symptoms, not if you are feeling well. If you are feeling well, you can carry on.

Operational Advice – BBC travel restrictions

  • FCO advice (17 March 2020):British nationals should avoid all non-essential foreign travel to tackle the spread of coronavirus. Effectively immediately. For 30 days.
  • The BBC also advises:
  • Against all travel to: Wuhan/Hubei, Iran, northern Italy (areas under containment), Daegu and Cheongdo in the Republic of Korea. 
  • Against all but essential travel to: China, Cambodia, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Laos, Macau, Malaysia, Myanmar, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Taiwan,Thailand and Vietnam.
  • Note there are travel restrictions and border closures in the China/Hong Kong/Singapore area. Visit the Country Pages for more information.
  • All activity in Iran is considered to be High Risk. You must contact the High Risk team.
  • South East Asia is still considered to be “Travel Advisory”.
  • Many countries have introduced screening measures and additional entry restrictions at border crossings, immigration and transport hubs. If you have recently been in China or other affected countries, you may not be allowed to enter or transit, or you may be required to enter a period of quarantine after entry.
  • If you are traveling to a country in South Asia/Pacific, please visit the BBC Safety Hub sitehere and fill out the appropriate Production Risk Assessment:
  1. RIS-272 – Template Risk Assessment for Travel to Category 1 countries/areas 
  2. RIS 275 – Template Risk Assessment for Travel to any Category 2 countries/areas 
  • Further Information regarding the various  travel restrictions imposed by other countries due to Covid 19 can be found on the IATA Travel Centre Website

Operational Advice for production teams and event producers for activities in the UK

  • An updated policy for visitors, contributors and guests: From Wednesday (18 March) it will not be possible for external visitors and audience members to access BBC buildings unless they are essential to our broadcast output. All visitor’s tours of BBC premises are also cancelled for the foreseeable future. Those who do come to our buildings will still be required to declare themselves fit. We will keep this policy under review and update regularly based on the latest advice.
  • Audience events in our buildings: For the foreseeable future, we are cancelling all other events in our buildings where audience members are scheduled to attend. We have set up a working group to review all events and activities on an ongoing basis. 
  • In preparation for all other productions, carefully consider how you will reduce and control health risks from the activities you will be carrying out.
  • Consider who you are working with (cast, crew, guests) who may be more vulnerable.
  • Carryout a risk assessment in line with usual guidance – talk to your safety advisor if you need help
  • Ensure there are adequate facilities to enable hand washing 
  • Use our advice for interviewing guests if needed (Protocol for dealing with guests visiting BBC buildings)
  • Brief teams about the latest advice for reducing the spread of infection and what to do if someone is ill: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/  

Protecting vulnerable people:

If you have an underlying health condition, or are pregnant, then we strongly advise you stay at home. Your line manager will help you to do your job from home or if that’s not possible, find useful ways you can support the organisation during this difficult period. This guidance also applies to colleagues who have direct caring responsibilities in their home for people with underlying health conditions.

Specific advice if pregnant

According to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, pregnant women do not appear to be more severely unwell if they develop coronavirus than the general population.

Some useful FAQ’s are available from this link (https://www.rcog.org.uk/en/guidelines-research-services/guidelines/coronavirus-pregnancy/covid-19-virus-infection-and-pregnancy/ ) 

If you are breastfeeding, a risk assessment can be conducted with your line manager where you can discuss any concerns.

General advice for staff – Guidance on facemasks

  • Employees are not recommended to wear facemasks (also known as surgical masks or respirators) to protect against the virus. 
  • Facemasks are only recommended to be worn by people who have symptoms of COVID-19 and for those caring for individuals who have symptoms, such as cough and fever.
  • The best way to reduce any risk of infection is good hygiene and avoiding direct or close contact (closer than 2 metres) with any potentially infected person.
  • Some offices in China and South East Asia are being provided with masks, wipes and gels due to guidance from local authorities and for emergency purposes.

Advice and Support is available

If you’d like to talk to a medical professional about any health issues you might have, contact our new, free Remote GP service on 0345 222 3735 or visit the Remote GP service website. The remote GPs are friendly, experienced, NHS practising GPs who can give advice, reassurance and, where appropriate, a diagnosis

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