Updates on the 2019 Novelty Coronavirus Pandemic

2019 Novel Coronavirus

Click here to download the OHS Workplace Directive 28 Sept 2020.
Click here to download the Workplace Data Submission Guidelines.

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses which may cause illness in animals or humans. In humans, several Coronaviruses are known to cause respiratory infections ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). The most recently discovered Coronavirus causes Coronavirus disease COVID-19.

The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, tiredness, and dry cough.

Some patients may have aches and pains, nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat or diarrhoea. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but do not develop any symptoms and do not feel unwell.

Most people (about 80 percent) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. Around one out of every six people who gets COVID-19 becomes seriously ill and develops difficulty breathing.

Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. About 2 percent of people with the disease have died. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention as soon as possible.

People can catch COVID-19 from others who have the virus. The disease can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth which are spread when a person with COVID- 19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.

They travel only short distances before settling, usually less than 1 meter. This is NOT the same as airborne transmission, where the virus is transmitted while suspended in air for prolonged periods of time.

Other people then catch COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. People can also catch COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.

This is why it is important to stay more than one metre away from a person who is sick.

The incubation period is 14 days (95th percentile = 12.5 days)

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the websites and social media of the National Department of Health (, National Institute for Communicable Diseases ( and World Health Organization (

In South Africa

Tips to Help Keep Your Workplace Safe:

•    Wash your hands frequently - regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water on site.

•    Maintain social distancing - maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing or show early signs of the virus.

•    Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth - hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses.

•    Practice respiratory hygiene - This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

•    If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early - stay home and in isolation if you feel unwell.

•    Deep cleaning of critical areas - such as frail care and catering areas. It is believed that this Virus could exist active on surfaces for up to 9 days.

•    Avoid large gatherings of people.

•    Refrain from handshaking or any personal touching when greeting people.

•    Conduct communications with regard to the Coronavirus and how it can be prevented and have the control measures implemented on the site and displayed for easier interpretations.

•    To know fact from myths regarding the virus and know that the virus is known to be contagious.

•    Boost your immune systems and maintain healthy life styles.

•    Designate a specific person (Such as a storeman or safety representative with gloves) to deal with handling of equipment on site by means of storage units to ensure materials and equipment are sound and clear from possible exposure.

•    To keep equipment and tools clean and prior to works and after works to have personnel trained to wash their hands and equipment to prevent spreading of the virus.

•    Follow advice given by your healthcare provider. Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19.

•    If in the event that a labourer has been in contact with someone that has been diagnosed with the COVID-19 virus, that person is required to be tested as soon as possible at the designated area.


Positive Cases




Active Cases