COVID-19 in occupational settings: lessons from 100 years ago and addressing the disease today [Summary]
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COVID-19 is a disease caused by the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2). On January 30th, 2020 the outbreak of Novel Coronavirus 2019 was declared a Public Health Emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organization. COVID-19 was declared a pandemic on the 11th of March 2020. The virus spreads from person to person through close contact, touching contaminated surfaces and then touching the eyes, nose or mouth. Preventive measures are taken at all workplaces to stop the spread of COVID-19. Social distancing, regular hand washing with soap and water for 20 seconds, use of alcohol- based hand sanitizer and cough etiquette must be practiced at all times. Hospitals, schools, colleges, hospitality, apparel and manufacturing industries now practice hand hygiene, social distancing, regular disinfection of contaminated surfaces, staggered work shifts, correct use of face mask if mild symptoms develop and shutting down of establishments as per instructions of the local health authorities. COVID-19 is already affecting tens of millions of informal workers all around the world. India has a share of almost 90 percent of working people which amount to 400 million workers in the informal economy, who are at the risk of falling into poverty during this crisis. The current lock down measures in India have affected these workers, compelling them to return to rural areas. Poverty along with the spread of the COVID-19 would further worsen the situation. Without dwelling on the healthcare setting, this paper discusses various preventive measures to be implemented in three different sectors. These interventions can be adapted to others as well, to stop the transmission of COVID-19.