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Advice to retail, taxi, police, tradespeople, civil engineering and other sectors

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This article gives advice to sectors that may need specific measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

This article gives advice to sectors that may need specific measures to prevent transmission of COVID-19.

Every company should follow the general advice about how to prevent transmission in the workplace: 

Advice to retail and merchandise

There is no evidence of COVID-19 contamination from food or water, according to reports from both WHO, EFSA, BfR (Germany) and ANSES (Argentina). Therefore, there is no need for restrictions on the supply of goods in grocery shops. Businesses should intensify cleaning of frequent contact points in shops and follow general hygiene advice. The use of face masks or gloves in retail and merchandise is not recommended.

Advice to sectors working with people who may be infected with COVID-19 (police, customs, prison etc.)

People who are ill with COVID-19 should be in home isolation and they are considered to be contagious. People who are in home quarantine are not sick, but have been in a situation where infection may have occurred.

Sectors that need to have contact with people who are ill or potentially infected should follow this advice:

  • Keep a good distance from people who may be infected with COVID-19 (at least 2 metres).
  • Good hand hygiene with thorough hand washing is important after contact with people who are in quarantine or who are isolated at home. Use alcohol-based disinfection if hand washing options are unavailable.
  • In general, the use of protective equipment such as face masks is not recommended. If the police, prison officers or others need to visit people who are in quarantine or isolation, the use of protective equipment must be clarified in consultation with the municipal health service. The most important protective equipment is a face mask, and gloves if available.
  • If there is a danger of splashing or spills from bodily fluids, an overall or plastic apron may be needed to protect work clothes.
  • If people infected with COVID-19 are, for example, in a police station, it is recommended to set aside separate enclosed areas for this. Other measures must be clarified in consultation with the municipal health service.

See also:

Advice to sectors in contact with private individuals or work in private homes (taxis, tradespeople, chimney sweeps, etc.)

Consider your own state of health with regard to symptoms of acute respiratory infection and avoid going to work if you are ill.

Contact the people who you are going to transport / work for to check if they are in home quarantine or in home isolation.

It is not recommended to transport people who are isolated or in home quarantine or to work in their home, unless it is agreed with the municipal health service beforehand.

For essential transport / work that cannot be postponed, agree transport / work and necessary precautions in consultation with the municipal health service.

Advice to sectors where workers live on site (civil engineering, shipyards, ships etc.)

Workplaces where employees live for periods in barracks or similar accommodation in close proximity to each other will be particularly vulnerable to transmission. Therefore, it is especially important to intensify hygiene measures and limit contact between employees in these workplaces.

People with respiratory tract symptoms must not go to work or stay in common living areas. Most people with mild respiratory symptoms are not tested for COVID-19, but should avoid contact with colleagues until their symptoms are gone.

People who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 should be in home isolation. If they cannot travel home, a separate area must be set aside for this purpose. There should be a separate bathroom / toilet available. Food should be served in the room. Otherwise, follow the general advice on home isolation. Afterwards, the rooms, toilets and other areas where people in home isolation have been should be cleaned with ordinary cleaning products. The District Medical Officer is responsible for following up COVID-19 cases and for contact tracing according to current guidelines.

People identified as close contacts should be in home quarantine. If they cannot go home, a separate area must be set aside for this purpose. People in quarantine should not stay in common living areas with others. They need to be extra alert for any respiratory symptoms that may develop.

Consider reducing the number of employees working at the same time, in order to reduce to contact between employees and to reduce the risk of transmission at work.

If there is a shared canteen or dining hall, limit the number of people eating at the same time, to reduce contact between employees.

Limit the number of people staying in common living areas.

Where possible, try to have different teams of workers who are not in contact with each other, and avoid mixing different teams. In this way, infection in one team will not have consequences for the other team.

Advice to sectors in the water and wastewater industry

There is no evidence that COVID-19 viruses have been transmitted via drinking water or for how long the virus survives in surface water.

Norwegian waterworks normally use chlorine, UV radiation or ozonation as a disinfection method. These disinfection methods are effective against most disease-causing viruses, and the World Health Organization concludes that the common disinfection methods used (chlorine and UV) are also sufficient to inactivate this virus.

It has not been reported that COVID-19 virus has been transmitted through wastewater or sewage.
  • Standard precautions and procedures used for other diseases that can be spread via wastewater are sufficient.
  • It is important to maintain good hand hygiene.
  • In rare cases, breakages and leaks occur in the water mains and wastewater can enter drinking water pipes. It is then common practice to issue warnings to boil water, and people will be informed that the water should be boiled or not drunk.

Avoid Legionella in the system

It is important to remember measures to prevent  Legionella during periods when buildings are closed for a long periods of time. Legionella can lead to Legionnaire’s disease, a pneumonia-type illness that may require admission to hospital. Simple preventive measures can help to avoid further pressure on the healthcare service during the COVID-19 pandemic. Legionella bacteria grow in warm, still water, for example, in a shower that is not used for a while, and are transmitted by aerosols that form in the shower and are then inhaled. In the current situation, there are two main areas where Legionella could be a problem:

  • Schools, swimming pools, gyms and other buildings that are now closed, that have showers with water standing in the pipes. Legionella can grow while they are not in use, and can then be transmitted later when the water starts up again and aerosols can form. This may also apply to staff wardrobes in office buildings.
  • Patient rooms in hospitals and nursing homes that are not normally used, but are now being used as quarantine rooms or to expand capacity. These rooms may have showers that have been left unused for extended periods.

In order to reduce the risk of infection from Legionella, measures / procedures should be implemented before the buildings are used again. Continue any routine maintenance procedures regularly, until the buildings are to be used again.

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