Over the last week or so I’ve spent some time thinking about how Latin Link in Britain and Ireland might prepare and adapt to the spread of this Coronavirus over the next few months. In doing so I’ve come across a range of resources that may be of use to others.
Risk management is about identifying and evaluating risks in order to minimise their likelihood or impact. Most of what follows aims to help us do that on an individual, organisational and national level. If, as seems the case at the moment, the number of cases doubles every 6 days (unless action is taken to slow the virus) then by late April hospitals will struggle to cope and by May lots of aspects of normal life will not be possible. Even with strategies to slow the virus it looks as if there will be a twelve-week period during which most of us will be infected. Sky news: uk gov strategy
Basic advice in the UK
The main sources of advice in the UK are:
The NHS health service here
Government advice for employers here
Other sources of health advice
As a mission organisation, we use Thrive Worldwide for a range of health things. They have a resources section of their website www.thrive-worldwide.org which includes this fact sheet about Covid-19 factsheet
In the past, I’ve often found the advice from Australian Health Services helpful. Here’s their website. Though it is worth noting that as the virus spreads different countries will need to do different things at different stages. Gov.au
For a background to the risk assessments: European data
What to do if isolated
Lisette Gabre wrote this article about responding to being in isolation which was posted on the China Source website. Extended period of isolation
How should mission agencies respond?
ABWE’s missions podcast did an episode last week with one of their medical folk, looking into the risks and thinking what might be an appropriate response. ABWE blog
Setting this all in context
It’s worth remembering that the risks to any one healthy individual are low as for 80% of people the illness is mild. The risks rise for anyone over 65 and for those with certain pre-existing health conditions. The main risks are with health services being unable to cope with the increased demand and with disruptions to normal life caused by illness and measures taken to slow the spread.
This article by Ian Paul is good. Responding faithfully to coronavirus
The Bishop of St Albans put together some golden rules for how Christians might live and the attitudes they should have. Golden rules
As for us
At Latin Link we are thinking through a number of questions:
- How can we help people to do more work remotely?
- What will we do if lots of people are off sick at once?
- What would happen if we had to close the office?
- What about payments to mission workers?
- How can we help keep the office clean and reduce the likelihood of catching the virus from a colleague?
- How do we balance being prepared with recognising our trust in the Lord and that many of our mission workers overseas live with greater risks every day?
- How can we prepare to help and support people in Latin America as they also face this virus?
In short, we believe that planning is worthwhile but panic isn’t.
- Wash your hands for 20 seconds whilst saying the Lord’s prayer.
- The best way to reduce the impact of virus illnesses is to keep fit, eat healthily and sleep properly.
- Stop routinely shaking hands with people.
- When the virus starts to take off, try to keep a metre or two away from people to reduce transmission.
And remember, in the words of Psalm 91
Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say of the Lord, ‘He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.’