To reduce the impact of COVID-19 outbreak conditions, especially on
GCPLAW and the employees, it was important for the Management of GCPLAW to
prepare and apply a specific Health Protocol against COVID-19, to address the
specific exposure risks, sources of exposure, routes of transmission, and
prevent COVID-19 from entering into our office premises
resulting to our work environment becoming by any means the source
of contamination of our people. As from today 12th of March 2020, GCP LAW’s Health Protocol
against COVID-19 is applicable and enforced, with mandatory regulations for
social distancing, limitation of visitations by messengers, visitors and
guests, enhanced hand hygiene, environmental cleaning and ventilation, surfaces
disinfenction, self- isolation/voluntary home quarantine and protective separation and of course guidance on self-monitoring. We trust our employees
especially amid this difficult time. We trust their sense of responsibility and solidarity. These
qualities shall apply to our work environment now, more than ever, to make
it a safe workplace during this pandemic, to the extent realistically possible.
The regulations included in the present Protocol are hugely based on and are
according to and in full compliance with, the protocols issued by the WHO
especially on this pandemic and will be updated frequently as may be necessary
to adhere to the public health regulations and mandates issued from time to
time. We shall all cooperate with utmost responsibility and solidarity during
Public health measures such as hand hygiene, respiratory etiquette and environmental cleaning in GCPLAW are the cornerstone measures to protect the staff, our families and others. The application of these principles will help prevent and control transmission of any respiratory infectious disease, including COVID-19.
- Dining and food within the premises of GCPLAW
Please avoid eating in the premises of GCPLAW. If you have to, please eat ONLY in the Dining Room. Please avoid preparing food in the kitchen and avoid using Metal utensils. Preference should be given to the disposable ones. When washing utensils etc, please use plenty of soap and wash for at least 20 seconds. This is important if hot water is not available.
- Hand hygiene
Refers to hand washing with soap and water or hand sanitizing with alcoholic solutions, gels or tissues to maintain clean hands and fingernails. It should be performed frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds:
- Before and after preparing food;
- Before and after eating;
- After using the toilet;
- After coughing/sneezing into a tissue (or if non compliant with respiratory etiquette);
- Before and after using a mask and after removing gloves;
- After handling body fluid-contaminated waste or laundry;
- Whenever hands look dirty.
- After a handshake or having touched an unsafe surface.
If hand washing is not possible at the
moment, hands can be cleaned with an alcohol- based hand sanitizer (ABHS)
that contains at least 60% alcohol, ensuring
that all surfaces of the hands are covered (e.g.
front and back of hands as well as between fingers) and rubbed together until
they feel dry.
Hard dry tissues are available in the toilets for drying the hands. Towels should be banned as from today. Used tissues must be disposed of in the bin right after use. Bin should open with the foot, not the hand.
Touching one’s eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands should be avoided.
- Respiratory etiquette
Describes a combination of measures intended to minimize the dispersion of large particle respiratory droplets when an ill person is coughing, sneezing and talking to reduce virus transmission.
Cover coughs and sneezes with a procedure mask or tissue. Dispose of tissues in a lined waste container and perform hand hygiene immediately after a cough or sneeze
Cough/sneeze into the bend of your arm, not your hand
- Environmental cleaning and ventilation
Refers to routine cleaning of frequently used surfaces and objects to help to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 to help to mitigate the risk of people becoming infected through self-inoculation after touching contaminated surfaces. The virus that causes COVID-19 has the potential to survive in the environment for up to several days. Cleaning, particularly of frequently touched surfaces, can kill the virus, making it no longer possible to infect people.
- Cleaning GCPLAW setting
Every employee should disinfect our own office first thing every morning and twice every day. This is very important. Common areas shall be cleaned more frequently and definitely 3 times a day. Frequently touched areas such as toilets, desks, telephone devices, remote controls for a/c, tables, light switches and door handles should be first cleaned (to physically remove dirt) and disinfected twice a day with water and regular household cleaning products or a diluted bleach solution (0.5% sodium hypochlorite). If they can withstand the use of liquids for disinfection, frequently touched electronics such as phones, computers and other devices may be disinfected with 70% alcohol (e.g. alcohol prep wipes). All used disposable contaminated items should be placed in a lined container before disposing of them with other household waste.
- Please note that the disinfectants are in short supply in the market so use them with caution and prefer also other type of cleaning soaps or detergents etc. GCPLAW will supply you with any cleaning material as necessary.
- Cleaning high traffic spaces
Cleaning of high traffic public spaces (e.g. reception, kitchen, toilets, filing room, conference room) should follow regular cleaning and disinfecting regimes, both in terms of products used and surfaces targeted, with a simultaneous increase of the frequency of cleaning. Reception to be cleaned three times a day, morning, noon and before closing the office. While the kitchen and toilets to be cleaned every time used by the person who used it and absolutely once twice before closing the office. Conference room should be cleaned before and after every use. It is also recommended that items that cannot be easily cleaned (e.g., reception magazines) be removed. Please also disinfect your pens and mouse, and mobile phones frequently. Do not leave stuff all over the office because they can become carriers of the virus. Door knobs from entrance and office entrance and the handle of the stairs Must be disinfected twice a day.
Increasing ventilation (e.g. opening windows when weather permits) may help reduce transmission, though evidence is limited as to its effectiveness. Simulation studies show that increased ventilation was shown to reduce influenza transmission and is usually simple and feasible in many locations. If possible, do open all the windows around the office for 10 minutes minimum a day.
- Social distancing
Social distancing measures are approaches taken to minimize close contact with others in the office especially visitors such as messengers, visitors and guests.
As of today the main door at the building entrance should be closed. Anyone visiting the office should be allowed first in the building by Reception and if a messenger then to be met at the office’s 2nd floor front door instead of being allowed of entering inside the office premises. We are not equipped with a thermometer and are also not in the position to check every messenger or random visitor so we cannot take any chances.
They should also be instructed to leave the envelope in the letterbox outside the main entrance. Reception should use disposable gloves when first handling envelopes.
- Self isolation/ quarantine
It is crucial that we also follow quarantine and self-isolation recommendations properly to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to others. You may work from home in such case. As from today, paid sick leaves are extended unlimited for sick leaves takes during the month March, till further notice. So this should not concern anyone.
- Isolation is recommended for a symptomatic individual that is suspected of having, or known to have, COVID-19. They are directed to isolate themselves in the home- setting and avoid contact with others until advised that they are no longer considered contagious. Isolation includes:
going out of the home setting. This includes coming to GCPLAW as well. Do not
come to the office if this scenario applies.
- Not using public transportation (e.g. buses, subways, taxis)
- Identifying a “buddy” to check on and do errands for each another, especially for those who live alone or at high risk for developing complications.
- Voluntary home quarantine (“self-isolation”) is recommended for an asymptomatic person, when they have a high risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19, (i.e., through close contact with a symptomatic person or their body fluids). They are asked to self- isolate in the home-setting to avoid contact with others in order to prevent transmission of the virus at the earliest stage of illness (i.e., should they develop COVID-19).
- Protective self-separation is recommended for a person who is at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 (e.g., older adults, those with chronic underlying medical conditions or immunocompromised) when the virus is circulating in their community.
- Voluntary avoidance of crowded places is recommended for a person who is asymptomatic and who is considered to have had a medium risk of exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19. This involves avoiding crowded public spaces and places where rapid self-isolation upon onset of symptoms may not be feasible. Examples of these settings include mass gatherings, such as concerts and sporting events; not including hospitals and schools. Please follow the regulations included in the Decrees issued by the Minister of Health of the Republic of Cyprus in this respect.
- Mandatory quarantine is the imposed separation or restriction of movement of individuals, groups or communities, for a defined period of time and in a location determined. As local circumstances may vary from time to time, quarantine may be used to contain, delay or mitigate COVID-19, although its effectiveness once there is widespread community transmission is unknown. An individual in mandatory quarantine is asymptomatic but may have been exposed to the virus causing COVID-19.
- Self-monitoring is implemented when individuals are potentially exposed to the virus and includes monitoring for the occurrence of symptoms compatible with COVID-19. If symptoms develop, the individual should follow the recommended public health actions regarding convalescing at home versus seeking medical care, depending on severity of symptoms and the presence of underlying medical conditions.
i) Use of masks
Masks should be used by a symptomatic individual, if available, to provide a physical barrier that may help to prevent the transmission of the virus by blocking the dispersion of large particle respiratory droplets propelled by coughing, sneezing and talking. A face mask should always be combined with other measures such as respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene. They can be worn by people suspected or confirmed of having COVID-19 when in close contact with other people in the home-setting or if they must leave the home-setting for medical attention.There is no evidence on the usefulness of face masks worn by healthy/asymptomatic persons as a mitigation measure, therefore it is not recommended as on today.
Employees who will not work within the premises of GCPLAW will be given remote access to their emails and may work remotely to the extend possible. Parents who must take care of their children due to schools’ closure and do not have any other homecare solution, please discuss with the Management as soon as possible to find a tailor-made solution.
The above regulations and protocols will be updated frequently as may be necessary to adhere to the public health regulations and mandates issued from time to time.