Coronavirus preparedness crucial

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EDITOR — COVID-19) is a respiratory disease affecting the whole world. There are no confirmed cases in Zimbabwe as yet. It spreads widely via a cough or sneeze. The spread of coronavirus has triggered panic across the globe due to its easy transmission and interruption of activities.

The need for isolation of patients and risk of imported cases among travellers and at gatherings has fuelled fear and adversely affected business and the global economy. The major concern about coronavirus is that there is no cure for it. Save for a few reportedly recovered patients, no body has natural immunity to the virus.

Risk planning and mitigation strategies are integral to successful organisations for survival and business continuity. Coronavirus is a disaster causing disruption to business, restricted travel and quarantine for extended periods. Business continuity planning is required across all departments anchored on a clear communication plan.

The most severe impact of the pandemic on an organisation is reduced productivity, loss of sales and revenue. The buying power of affected and infected will decrease significantly as most people rely on formal or informal income.

Therefore, planning for different scenarios will mitigate risks. Human resources planning is a critical factor for sustained business operation.

Employees’ ability to travel to work is important, and alternative fast and safe options must be in place or arranged. In addition, an updated contact list of all staff, their home addresses and alternative ways to reach them must be in place. Work life balance strategies can also allow staff to work from various remote sites.

Businesses must assess the supply chain options for products and services and build a robust resilience of its channels and alternatives for business continuity and to ensure constant supply of products and services.

Service providers such as health institutions, frontline workers, require top notch preparation and resilience to offer high quality services and meet demand for services such as testing and medical services provision.

Psychological support is required for affected citizens. Suitable facilities such as a command centres must be set up to effectively communicate key messages. This requires political will and resource allocation to provide training, protective consumables, logistics and appropriate equipment to safeguard lives of healthcare workers, multi-disciplinary frontline workers and those affected and infected.

Organisations must perfect their risk or contingency plans. This will curb reactive approaches that can be catastrophic to lives. The time to act is now! Let’s join hands to complement government efforts to save Zimbabweans lives.

 

Dagobert Mureriwa

 

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