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Employment

Covid Threat Level Reduction

Thursday, September 8, 2022

Advice for employers as the Government announce a step down in threat from level 3 to level 2.

With the end of August bringing a reduction in the threat level for Covid-19 we thought it a timely opportunity to remind you of the guidance as it changed earlier this year.

Here follows the Government announcement released 31st August 2022.

Based on UKHSA advice, the UK Chief Medical Officers and NHS England National Medical Director have recommended to ministers the COVID alert level moves from level 3 to level 2. Hospitals and the wider health systems remain extremely busy overall but the summer BA.4 and BA.5 wave is subsiding and direct COVID severe illness is now a much smaller proportion of this.

Severe COVID cases, direct COVID healthcare pressures, direct COVID deaths and ONS community positivity estimates have decreased.

COVID remains present in the community, and we may see an increase in cases with BA 4.6 and BA.2.75 circulating but do not expect this to lead to an immediate increase in hospital pressures. This will continue to be kept under review. Further COVID surges are likely so please be prepared by getting a vaccination when it is offered.

The latest guidance outlined below offers a broad outline of precautions to take to prevent the unnecessary spread of Covid-19.

While there is no longer a requirement for all employers to explicitly consider COVID-19 in their statutory health and safety risk assessments, it is important that as a business, organisation or an employer you continue to comply with your legal obligations relating to health and safety, employment and equality duties.

Know which symptoms to look out for

Respiratory infections can spread easily between people. It is important for staff and employers to be aware of symptoms so they can take actions to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to other people.

The symptoms of COVID-19 and other respiratory infections are very similar so it is not possible to tell if you have COVID-19, flu or another infection based on symptoms alone. Most people with COVID-19 will have a relatively mild illness, especially if they have been vaccinated.

Symptoms of COVID-19, flu and common respiratory infections include:

  • continuous cough
  • high temperature, fever or chills
  • loss of, or change in, your normal sense of taste or smell
  • shortness of breath
  • unexplained tiredness, lack of energy
  • muscle aches or pains that are not due to exercise
  • not wanting to eat or not feeling hungry
  • headache that is unusual or longer lasting than usual
  • sore throat, stuffy or runny nose
  • diarrhoea, feeling sick or being sick

Some people may continue to have a cough or feel tired after other symptoms have improved, but this does not mean that they are still infectious. You can find information about these symptoms on the NHS website.

What to do if a member of staff has symptoms of a respiratory infection, including COVID-19

If a member of staff is unwell with symptoms of a respiratory infection, such as COVID-19, they should follow the guidance for people with symptoms of a respiratory infection such as COVID-19.

Employers, in accordance with their legal obligations, may wish to consider how best to support and enable their workforce to follow this guidance as far as possible.

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