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Important Coronavirus information update

At the end of December 2019, the World Health Organization was alerted to several cases of pneumonia in Wuhan City, Hubei Province of China. This virus was identified as a novel Coronavirus, COVID-19 (previously referred to as 2019-nCoV), this organism belongs to a family of viruses, which includes the common cold, as well as SARS and MERS viruses.

By the end of January, it was reported that more than 7,000 people had been infected by the virus. WHO reports that China is the most heavily affected country. Outside of China, a smaller number of cases have also been reported in; Hong Kong, Macau, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Cambodia, Philippines, Thailand, Nepal, Sri Lanka, India, USA, Canada, France, Finland, Germany, UK and UAE. The severity of 2019-nCoV infection is under scrutiny via the CDC and WHO and it was declared a public health emergency on 30 January.

What does the outbreak of novel Coronavirus mean?

The risk of novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) transmission is currently low in countries outside of China and, whilst it is important that we keep this matter in perspective, the increasing number of cases being reported outside of China is generating a high level of public concern.

What are we doing for our customers?

As a responsible organisation that is committed to protecting people, we will be closely monitoring the situation and providing informative updates to our customers via our websites and direct communications.

We want you to be reassured that our colleagues will not pose added risk to our customers and their employees, as a result of the actions and training that we are undertaking to ensure continued delivery of a safe and high level of service. For more information, please see below.

We will also be providing information on an ongoing basis regarding what you can do to reduce the potential risks of virus transmission in your location. Scientists around the world are currently looking into the transmissibility and severity of COVID-19, but until we know more there are hygiene behaviours that we can and should adopt that are proven to be effective against the spread of viruses. Please read our article on What the Coronavirus outbreak means for you to find out more about:

  • How is COVID-19 transmitted and how contagious it is
  • Symptoms of COVID-19
  • Advised special precautions
  • Guidance on effective hand washing methods

Will there be any changes to my service levels?

The health and safety of our colleagues and customers is of paramount importance to us, and we will not offer our services unless we can be sure it is safe to do so. We are aiming to keep disruption to a minimum; however the following restrictions have been put in place for safety purposes:

  1. Rentokil Initial businesses will not conduct any type of service in medical treatment rooms or quarantine areas which are used for the care of patients who have experienced 2019-nCoV unless they are specifically trained to do so.
  2. Our businesses which provide specialist disinfection services by colleagues trained in biohazards and infection control will be permitted to conduct services in the following areas, provided there are no potentially affected people in the area and all other risks have been robustly assessed:

    a) Medical treatment rooms or quarantine areas which are used for the care of patients who have experienced COVID-19 infections.
    b) Any premises or vehicle which has been quarantined due to the presence of a suspected COVID-19 patient(s).

What are we doing for our employees?

In order to ensure we provide a sensible and proportionate response, we have established a dedicated central team to monitor the global situation and maintain a global response plan. The initial phase of this plan consists of providing instructions and guidelines for country leadership teams, and ensuring all colleagues around the world receive thorough awareness briefings. All information is being assessed on an ongoing basis to ensure that our people are always protected and are also able to inform our customers on new developments as they happen.

In every country, our management teams, health and safety, and HR managers are continuously monitoring local government guidance and recommendations from WHO and CDC.

In a country with active outbreaks we are carrying out risk assessments and implementing risk control measures to ensure colleague exposure to infection risks is reduced, helping to protect them and also customers with whom they come into contact. These controls may include:

  • Increased supply and use of PPE, particularly N95 and FFP3 face masks.
  • The potential introduction of travel bans.
  • Possible restrictions or postponement of visitors from affected areas.
  • Quarantining colleagues who present symptoms after travel into infected areas or exposure to infected persons.

In countries with zero or a small number of isolated cases, we will continue to carry out routine work activities, following standard safe working practices, to include:

  • Practicing regular, good hand hygiene using soap and water and applying an alcohol-based hand sanitiser solution - particular importance when travelling or working in heavily populated areas.
  • Use of all forms of fit-for-purpose, undamaged PPE, specified and provided for the work they are required to perform.
  • Ensuring cuts and abrasions are kept clean, treated and covered with waterproof dressings.

General travel advice

For colleagues who travel between global regions, we have put in place a temporary avoidance instruction for China, Hong Kong and Macau. This situation will be monitored for changes and we apologise for any inconvenience this may cause.

Suspected cases from travel

If a colleague or someone they have had close contact with has recently travelled to an area of high alert, they have been instructed to inform their manager, who will take appropriate action and carefully monitor the situation.

Suspected cases from contact

If a colleague develops a fever, or symptoms of respiratory illness, within 14 days after travel, or if they have had close contact with someone showing symptoms, they have been instructed to remain at home and seek advice from their healthcare provider.

More information to follow

Further information will be provided through regular updates to this page, so please check back or bookmark this page. Alternatively, you can keep up-to-date with country-specific guidance and the current recommendations from dedicated websites for

Next steps

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