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  • What Is The Coronavirus

    The Novel Coronavirus Disease: now referred to as COVID-19

    Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. COVID-2019 is a new strain of the virus that has not yet been identified in humans. As the winter season approaches, it comes with an increased risk of developing respiratory illness and therefore, organisations should be conscious of increased infection in the workplace. Influenza causes up to 650 000 deaths worldwide and over 11 000 deaths in South Africa each year, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

  • Who Is At Risk?

    Anyone who is or has been in contact with someone who has travelled to the following high risk areas, are at greater risk:

    • Wuhan areas
    • Mainland China (all provinces)
    • Hong Kong
    • Japan, Republic of Korea
    • Vietnam
    • Taiwan
    • Italy
    • Germany
    • UK
    • Islamic Republic of Iran

    Those who are at a higher risk of infection and complications are the young and elderly.

    People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

  • What Are The Symptoms?

    The new COVID-19, the flu and the common cold have similar symptoms, but severe cases of COVID-19 are far deadlier. The following table compares symptoms of the COVID-19 to those of the flu and the common cold:

    • Fever
    • Dry cough
    • Muscle ache
    • Fatigue
    • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

    Seasonal Flu
    • Fever
    • Dry cough
    • Muscle ache
    • Fatigue
    • Headache
    • Sore throat
    • Runny or stuffy nose

    Common Cold
    • Runny or stuffy nose
    • Sneezing
    • Sore throat




    More severe cases of COVID-19 infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death, so it is advisable that you contact your doctor and seek medical advice should show symptoms of COVID-19 infection as listed in the above table.

  • How Is It Spread?

    • Influenza spreads quickly and can affect anyone, regardless of their state of health or age.
    • Influenza is complicated for people with chronic diseases such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), tuberculosis (TB), diabetes and other metabolic disorders
    • When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid.
    • Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects – such as desks, tables or telephones. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
    • COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to the flu. Most persons infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover.
    • However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care.
    • Majority of cases are due to close physical contact to infected people and healthcare workers.

  • Preventative Measures

      • Conduct a comprehensive risk assessment to determine the likelihood of contamination in the workplace. This assessment should include a contingency and business continuity plan should there be an outbreak of the illness
      • Consider the following pro-active steps within the workplace
        • Follow accurate and credible health advice and information to stay updated. Refer to the list of resources provided in this document.
        • Communicate with the employees regarding updates and ways of protecting themselves against infection.
        • To prevent the spread of infection, make sure the workplace is clean and hygienic.
        • Surfaces (e.g. desks and tables) and objects (e.g. telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly because contamination on surfaces touched by employees and customers is one of the main ways that COVID-19 spreads.
      • Promote regular and thorough handwashing (for at least 20seconds) to employees, contractors and customers – washing kills the virus on our hands and prevents the spread of COVID-19.
        • Ensure staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water
        • Display posters promoting handwashing
      • Brief employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in the community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home.
      • Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.
      • Cleaning staff & measures:
        • Frequently touched surfaces (door handles, entry buttons, desk surfaces etc) should be cleaned and disinfected frequently.
        • Cleaning staff should take caution and ensure whether they are using gloves (advisable) or not to wash their hands frequently and avoid touching their face.
        • Gloves and masks if used by cleaning staff should be disposed of in a closed off bin.
      • Avoid meetings, gatherings and events and consider whether a face-to-face meeting or event is necessary:
        • Advise participants of the gathering in advance that if they have any symptoms or feel unwell, they should not attend.
        • Encourage regular handwashing or use of an alcohol rub by all participants at the meeting or event.
        • Open windows and doors whenever possible to make sure the venue is well ventilated.
        • Retain the names and contact details of all participants for at least one month. This will help public health authorities trace people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 if one or more participants become ill shortly after the event.
        • If someone at the meeting or event was isolated as a suspected COVID-19 case, the organizer should let all participants know this. They should be advised to monitor themselves for symptoms for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day.

      • The most effective way to prevent influenza is through annual vaccination, it will reduce the severity of the illness and the risk of complications and hospitalization.
        • Due to the mutation of the 4 viruses that cause seasonal flu, the vaccines are adapted accordingly to optimize immunity against the specific virus strains each year guided by the WHO.
        • Get your flu vaccination when it becomes available at the end of March 2020.
      • Avoid touching your face, including your eyes, mouth and nose.
      • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Wash from up your wrist towards your arm, down your arm onto the top of your hand, in-between your fingers, underneath your nails, then on the back of your hand and repeat.
      • Clean and disinfect regularly used objects and surfaces (i.e. work desk)
      • Facemasks are not guaranteed to protect users from airborne infection and increase the likely hood that you will touch your face, thus increasing your risk of infection.
      • We advise to avoid non-essential travel to infected and affected countries.
      • It is important to keep your social distance from others:
        • Avoid close proximity to those that seem unwell.
        • Avoid group gatherings.

      • Government has implemented travel bans to several countries including Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United States, the United Kingdom and China. Travel bans on these countries will come into effect from 18 March 2020.
      • Local travels between Provinces should be done only when necessary.
      • Gatherings of more than 100 people are prohibited. Large events and celebrations are to be cancelled.
      • All schools are closed from Wednesday 18 March until after the Easter weekend.
      • Government also said they would be working closely with universities, colleges etc. to increase hygiene and put other appropriate responses in place.
      • Surveillance and testing systems are being strengthened at hospitals.
      • Government are partnering with the private sector to develop a tracing, tracking and monitoring system for all those affected by the COVID-19.
      • A total of 35 land ports and 2 seaports have been shut down out of a total of 72 ports.
      • A package to be put together as a response to the economic impact of the disease.
      • Establishment of National Command Council chaired by the President to meet three times a week to coordinate responses to the pandemic.
      • All of those who have visited high risk countries in the past 14 days are requested to test for the virus.
      • Self-isolation is suggested for anyone who is not critically ill but presents with mild symptoms.
      • All visits to Correctional Services have been suspended with immediate effect for the next 30 days.

  • How Is COVID-19 Diagnosed?

    People who have been determined as being suspect or probable case of COVID-19 are requested to get screened at a designated healthcare facility or laboratory, where samples are taken from the nose, mouth or throat for a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test.

  • How Is COVID-19 Treated & Managed?

    Currently, there is no specific antiviral treatment.
    All treatment for COVID-19 is symptom based medical care. There currently is no treatment or vaccination that has been developed.
    Patients are to receive oxygen for those who are experiencing shortness of breath and treatment for fever is to be provided when applicable.

  • What Will My Medical Scheme Cover?

    What are medical schemes required to pay for by law with regards to the Corona Virus Disease?
    According to the Council of Medical Aid Scheme’s (CMS), “Covid-19 is not listed in the Prescribed Minimum Benefits regulations as it is a new disease. However, all its complications such as pneumonia, renal failure, and respiratory failure are PMB conditions and must been fully funded at cost by all Medical Schemes for all members and beneficiaries irrespective of plan type or option to which the member belongs.” Consult with your scheme if they also offer additional cover of the initial consultations and tests of uncomplicated Covid-19 infection as a discretionary benefit.

    What are the PMBs (list of PMB conditions) falling under the Corona Virus Disease that medical Schemes are mandated to pay for by law?
    The PMBs provide for complete coverage of all complications of Covid-19 infection such as pneumonia, renal and respiratory failure including ventilation in ICU and dialysis where necessary.

    What is the CMS’s definition of uncomplicated COVID-19 infection which is NOT included under the PMBs?
    Uncomplicated Covid-19 infection might include the following: consultation, laboratory tests , chest x-rays and possible CT scans, and medications.

    Note: Members and beneficiaries of Schemes are advised to check for coverage of Covid-19 with their specific Medical Schemes including what they can expect to be covered as discretionary benefit offerings.

  • FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19 In The Workplace

    Question: If any employee is placed under quarantine by the employer, should the employee be required to take sick leave?
    Answer: If a medical doctor places an employee in quarantine, the employee should receive a medical certificate and, in such circumstances, the employee will be on sick leave.

    Question: What if an employee requests self-quarantine?
    Answer: In the case of voluntary quarantine (i.e. quarantine at the request of the employee for precautionary purposes), the employee is not sick and therefore sick leave should not be imposed. If employees are forced to take unpaid leave or annual leave in these circumstances, they may opt not to self-quarantine.

    Question: What if an employee gets the Covid-19?
    Answer: In such an instance, the employer should apply its sick leave policy to such an employee. The employee must obtain a medical certificate and any time out of the office will be considered as sick leave.  Due to the nature of the illness, an employee with COVID-19 should not be permitted to return to work until that employee is cleared to do so by a medical practitioner.

    This is a guideline and you should therefore collaborate with your HR consultant to guide you further.

  • FAQ’s Regarding COVID-19

    Question: Is there a need to be worried?
    Answer: No. If you follow the preventative measures such as good personal hygiene, keep your social distance from those who are unwell and do not travel or visit highly infected areas, your chances of infection are low.

    Question: Can COVID-19 be treated?
    Answer: Yes, through symptoms based medical care. There currently is no treatment or vaccination that has been developed.

    Question: Can a person infected with COVID-19 recover fully?
    Answer: Yes, in fact, 80% of infected people recover without needing special treatment

    Question: How long does the virus survive on surfaces?
    Answer: The virus can survive up to 8-10hours on porous surfaces, such as, paper, untreated wood, cardboard, sponges and fabrics. On non-porous surfaces (glass, plastics and metals), the virus can last a little longer.

    Question: Should I be wearing a mask, and if so which one?
    Answer: If you are not sick, it is not necessary for you to wear a mask. If you are displaying symptoms, sneezing and coughing, you should be wearing a 3layer disposable surgical mask

    • N-95 or N-99 are recommended

    Question: Can COVID-19 spread through mosquitoes?
    Answer: No. To date, there is no evidence that COVID-19 is transmitted through mosquitoes. COVID-19 is transmitted through droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes or through droplets of saliva or discharge from the nose.

    Question: Can I get infected from my pet?
    Answer: To date, there is no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19. However, to be cautious, always wash your hands before and after handling pets.

    Question: Can COVID-19 be found in food?
    Answer: To date, there is no evidence that pets can transmit COVID-19. However, to be cautious, always wash your hands before and after handling pets.

    For more information, click on the link below

  • Myths vs. Facts Regarding COVID-19

    Myth: Spraying yourself with alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the virus.
    Fact: No. Spraying yourself with alcohol or chlorine will not kill the virus that has already entered your body. These chemicals and substances can be harmful to your skin, open cavities, and to your clothes. They will be useful to disinfect surface areas such as your desk.

    Myth: Vaccines against pneumonia will protect you against the new COVID-19.
    Fact: No. Vaccines against pneumonia will not provide protection against COVID-19. Due to the virus being new and different to other viruses, a new vaccine for COVID-19 needs to be developed.

    Myth: Eating garlic help prevent from infection of COVID-19.
    Fact: There is no evidence suggesting that eating garlic has protected people inf being infected with COVID-19. Garlic is a healthy food, and many have antimicrobial properties and should be consumed as a part of a balanced diet.

    Myth: Taking a hot bath can prevent COVID-19.
    Fact:  No, a hot bath will not prevent you from infection of COVID-19 as your body’s temperature remains constant between 36.5 and 37C. Taking a hot bath can be harmful and may cause burns.

    For more information, click on the link below

  • Resource List For COVID-19


    How to stay informed:

    1.  For Government Updates on the COVID-19 Virus:
    2. Please check for updates on the NICD and NDOH Websites:
    3. Find the latest information from WHO on where the COVID-19 virus is spreading:
    4. Advice and guidance from WHO on COVID-19:
    5. For informative videos about Covid-19:
    6. For fact sheets on Port entry and Home Affairs; Businesses; EMS Personnel; Education officials and Teachers; Healthcare Workers and Cleaners:

  • Contact List For COVID-19

    • National Department of Health (NDOH) Hotline: 0800 029 999

      National Department of Health (NDOH) WhatsApp Support Line: 0600 123456

      National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD) Hotline: 082-883-9920

      National institute of Occupational Health (NIOH): 011 712 6400

      If you need to report a suspected case of the Coronavirus: 011 386 2000

    • Organisation

      Communicable Disease Control

      Malaria, Vector-borne and Zoonotic Diseases

      Port Health

      Environmental Health

      Emergency Medical Services


      Hospital Services

      Infection Prevention & Control


      Tsakani Furumele


      Devanand Moonasar
      Wayne Ramkrishna

      Funeka Bongweni

      Murdock Ramathuba

      Raveen Naidoo
      Ahmed Bham

      Keneilwe Modise

      Ronel Steinhobel

      Email Address


      Telephone Number

      012 395 8096 / 082 419 9686


      082 578 3107
      082 317 4687

      012 395 9728 / 060 993 0107

      012 395 8518 / 081 415 0093

      012 395 821
      012 395 9636 / 073 571 6392

      012 395 8257 / 082 964 8888

      012 395 9198 / 083 627 5661

    • Province

      Eastern Cape


      Free State









      North West

      Northern Cape

      Western Cape


      Thomas Dlamini
      Nosimphiwo Mgobo

      Dikeledi Baleni
      Babsy Nyokong

      Chika Asomugha
      Caroline Kesebilwe

      Premi Govender

      Marlene Freda Ngobeni
      Mashudu P. Mudau

      Mandla Zwane
      Hluphi Mpangane

      Chriseldah Lebeko

      Gloria Hottie

      Charlene Jacobs

      Email Address

      Telephone Number

      083 378 0189
      060 579 9027

      083 757 8217
      082 463 7499

      082 330 1490
      083 490 8165

      071 609 2505

      079 491 1909
      071 678 3864

      082 229 8893
      076 522 8511 / 013 766 3411

      082 421 7985

      072 391 3345 / 053 830 0529

      072 356 5146 / 021 483 9964

    • Region

      Central Region (Gauteng, Free-State, Northern Cape)

      Northern Region (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West)

      Coastal Region (KwaZulu Natal, Northern Cape, Western Cape)


      Funeka Bongweni


      Ockert Jacobs


      Antoinette Hargreaves 

      Email Address




      Telephone Number

      012 395 9728
      060 993 0107

      012 395 9417
      082 372 0556

      031 301 0381
      083 460 0935


      Hotline (24-hours)

      Outbreak Response Unit


      Kerrigan McCarthy 



      Ann Mathews

      Jacqueline Weyer


      Email Address


      Telephone Number

      082 883 9920

      066 046 3581

      082 903 9131

      079 871 7278 

    • Area

      Eastern Cape: Livingstone Hospital

      Free State: Pelonomi Hospital

      Gauteng: Charlotte Maxeke Hospital

      KwaZulu-Natal: Greys Hospital

      Limpopo: Polokwane Hospital

      Mpumalanga: Rob Ferreira Hospital

      North West: Klerksdorp Hospital

      Northern Cape: Kimberley Hospital

      Western Cape: Tygerberg Hospital

      Telephone Number

      041 405 2255

      051 405 1911

      011 717 1000

      033 897 3000

      015 287 5000

      013 741 6100

      018 406 4600

      053 802 9111

      021 938 5454


  1. Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) situation reports – World Health Organization (WHO)
  2. 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) in the U.S. -. U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

  3. National Health Commision (NHC) of the People’s Republic of China

  5. National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD)
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