The current personal, corporate, national and global health risk derived from the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) outbreak is becoming more and more thought-provoking. It has become the largest known outbreak of EVD, with over 1200 cases to date, and a death count of over 1 000.
Communities and economies in Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone are facing unprecedented levels of disruptions.
The rapid spread of the lethal virus in these countries has prompted surveillance (health screening), containment (localised border closures) and quarantine measures in several countries across the West Africa region and abroad. The capital cities of all three countries have been affected: Conakry (Guinea), Monrovia (Liberia) and Freetown (Sierra Leone). The World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that cases are likely to occur in other countries in the region, increasing the operational impacts of the outbreak.
South Africa’s ports of entry are surrounded by a looming threat and a pertinent health crisis from the Ebola outbreak. South African Revenue Service, with the customs officials, Health and Home Affairs Ministries are hard at work investigating all possibilities as far as this possible epidemic is concerned at all our ports of entry.
Currently the temperature checks are administered to all persons and in addition, ships have been required to apply for quarantine clearance at least three days before arrival. Our current temperature monitoring device measures as some infected persons may not have high temperature with the virus having an incubation period of 2-21 days is a cause for major concern.
At least 90% of all reported infected cases die as there is no treatment/vaccine at this point in time.
Companies have generally not been impacted by the outbreak at this stage, but numerous precautions need to be taken by those that operate in remote areas where there has been a high infection rate.
As a Risk Manager:
· Are you worried about the unprecedented outbreak of EVD in West Africa and will it directly affect your business?
· If EVD spreads across more countries, could South Africa’s investor confidence take a knock?
· Have you reviewed your organisational travel schedules to identify all staff that maybe in or travelling to potential high risk zones/countries?
· Are your employees aware or made aware that they may be travelling to high risk areas and what precautions should be taken?
· What are the controls in place in your organisation/travel/health clinic to prevent employees being exposed to this pandemic and how effective are they?
· Does your organisation have a business continuity plan in place should an employee be infected by this virus?
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