For most the Covid 19 pandemic is their first experience of a truly global crisis, dealing with current situation has put a tremendous strain on everyone’s personal and professional lives. For a few others it is something they have seen before but hoped would never see again, especially to a scale that could never have been imagined.
What is Coronavirus (COVID-19)
According to the World Health Organisation Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is a new strain that was discovered in 2019 and has not been previously identified in humans.
The first identification of the disease was in the Wuhan Province in China late 2019 and has since spread globally, it was declared a Pandemic by the WHO in March 2020. Contrary to some misconceptions, from the evidence so far, the COVID-19 virus can be transmitted in all environments, including areas with hot and humid climates.
Financial Impact and Warnings
COVID 19, like other virus outbreaks such as MERS, SARS and Ebola can spread quickly and can have devastating consequences, not just for those who contract the virus and those whom are affected by bereavements but pandemics can have long reaching and long term financial impacts. The current Coronavirus is affecting almost all global business sectors, many of which will be unable to survive the economic consequences. According to the World Economic Forum Coronavirus COVID-19 is part of a pattern of increasingly frequent epidemics that have coincided with globalization, urbanization and climate change. As the world’s population swells, so will the number of outbreaks and the people impacted. In their action platform they outline in context that the dramatic spread of COVID-19 has disrupted lives, livelihoods, communities and businesses worldwide. All stakeholders, especially global business, must urgently come together to minimize its impact on public health and limit its potential for further disruption to lives and economies around the world.
It is important that people, businesses and organisations whether they be individuals, company offices, factories, shopping malls, educational establishments, hospitals, airports and borders should take the necessary precautions and implement measures to limit exposure, spread and impact of Covid 19. This should be done not only for the current Coronavirus but also for future viruses and diseases.
When there is a pandemic there is understandably a scramble to find protective equipment and detection systems which inevitably creates bottlenecks in supply and delivery, just when such items are critically required. These bottlenecks leave many businesses and organisations dealing with staff vulnerability and their operations open to a greater risk model. A couple of current examples of this scramble are the difficulties in obtaining a daily product we take for granted like hand sanitiser or a technical piece of equipment such as a complex fever detection system. Genuine manufacturers and suppliers try to deal and manage the global capacities and demand for such items and plan for this type of spike in their business but it has never been seen on this scale and that opens the doors for those seeking to take an advantage to profiteer on fear and the unknown. Putting your workforce at risk with uncertified, ineffectual and possibly dangerous products is only covering up a problem and potentially enhancing the spread of the virus.
The only answer is to be prepared through leadership, governance and strategic planning. There is now a clear warning that pandemics on this current level can cause catastrophic disruption to businesses throughout the world, some will not survive and others will feel the effects for a number of years to come. Reputable suppliers who can demonstrate knowledge, expertise and give advice on what best systems will suit your type of environment and action plan are the start point. If it is a low tech option you require such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) or a complex system to detect fever temperatures with an accuracy of +/- 0.5deg C the knowledge will be with those who can demonstrate a clear understanding of your requirement and in nearly all cases have a track record and have dealt with the situation before.
Seen Before but Never on this Level
For some it is a recurring nightmare, the Ebola crisis in 2014 saw the Western African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone devastated to proportions not seen in many generations. It gripped the country and although 6 years have passed the effects are still visible. Westminster Aviation Security Services Limited (WASS), part of the Westminster Group PLC, were imbedded in Sierra Leone after being awarded a highly competitive contract to take on all forms of security at Lungi International Airport (FNA). With the contract commencing in 2012 the number of passengers using the airport continued to rise and looked set to peak at around 120,000 but as soon as the Ebola crisis hit the airport was effectively closed to all traffic except those emergency staff who were urgently flown in. All airlines with the exception of Brussels Air suspended flights with some not choosing to resume flights after the epidemic has been crushed, the levels of passengers only reached pre-Ebola levels last year a full 5 years since the epidemic. A stark warning for those in the aviation industry how this pandemic may affect future business. WASS were able to provide support on a number of levels during the Ebola crisis with some members of staff being recognised in the same way the emergency services were for their dedication during that period. Most importantly WASS and the Westminster Group learnt some pretty vivid lessons that have been taken forward to understand the current situation as best as possible.
There is a sense of Déjà vu at the Westminster Group in the current climate, this time the Group are providing a wide range of protective solutions to those affected by Covid 19 and those who are trying to mitigate against it. The levels of enquiries for knowledge, advice and insight on what to do and what products best suit different requirements are at record amounts, volumes never seen before. Everyone’s situation is different and everything is being done to supply those in need to fight this global crisis and defeat it. As mentioned before, the signs are there we have to be proactive and plan rather than reactive and scramble.
The Westminster Group PLC is an international provider of security and safety solutions worldwide and a leading provider of fever screening, detection and protective equipment – click here for further information.