By Dike Onwuamaeze
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) has advised companies to implement the protocol the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has put in place for the workplace and personnel during this trying period to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the work places.
The protocol, according to the President of MAN, Mr. Mansur Ahmed, is to ensure that employers and employees take individual and collective responsibility for reducing the risk of spreading the disease.
“The best way to prevent infection and reduce the risk of spread of COVID-19 is to avoid being exposed to the virus by following basic hand and respiratory hygiene measures. Promote thorough and frequent hand washing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds and make available alcohol sanitisers in oﬃce and business premises, especially at all entrances.
“Employees should wash their hands before leaving home and on arrival at their place of employment, after using the toilet, before food preparation and before eating any food, including snacks. Likewise before leaving their place of employment,” NCDC protocol said.
Ahmed enjoined members to join the campaign by developing key messaging around the following thematic areas that include frequent washing of hands with soap under running water, the use an alcohol-based sanitiser and compulsory use of face mask at the workplace.
The protocol also enjoined employers to encourage employees to cover their nose and mouth with tissue when coughing or sneezing. Used tissue should immediately be disposed in a covered bin followed by washing of hands.
“Alternatively, sneeze or cough into a bent elbow if no tissue is available. Ensure provision of covered bins in oﬃce and business premises. Avoid touching eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands to avoid transfer of the virus from surfaces, into eye, mouth or nose.
“Use of face mask should be made compulsory for all staﬀ. Display signage in your oﬃce or business premises reminding staﬀ and visitors to maintain good and respiratory hygiene. Employees who feel unwell should stay at home and should not attend any public gatherings.
“If symptoms akin to COVID-19 develop, call NCDC on 0800 970 00010,” the NCDC said, adding that “if you return from international travel, self-isolate for 14 days and if you develop symptoms, call NCDC’s toll free number: 080097000010.”
The NCDC said that the spread of COVID-19 would most likely happen when there is close contact (within two metres) with an infected person. The risk increases the longer someone has close contact with an infected person. Moreover, droplets (respiratory secretions) produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes containing the virus can cause transmission of the virus.
“There are two routes by which people could become infected: Secretions can be directly transferred into the mouths or noses of people who are nearby (within two metres) or could be inhaled into the lungs.
“It is also possible that someone may become infected by touching a surface or object such as a doorknob that has been contaminated with respiratory secretions and then touching their own mouth, nose, or eyes,” the NCDC protocol said.