The world is in lockdown. Countries across the world have closed down borders, cut down on international flights; all public areas that usually invite crowds have been closed down - malls, theatres, etc; events have been postponed. The world is in the grips of one of the biggest pandemics to hit us in the 21st century.

The cause? A coronavirus (CoV), which has been named SARS-CoV-2 with the associated disease being called COVID-19. SARSCoV- 2 is 80%+ genetically similar to the SARS-CoV from the 2002/2003 outbreak. Because SARS-CoV-2 is novel, many of the potential risks associated with the virus are unclear. As of 15 March, 2020, more than 160,000 people have been infected globally with more than 4,000 deaths.

The pandemic has struck the entire world, spreading faster than ever. About half the cases are outside China and continue to rise at the rate of 10,000 new cases everyday. It has hit not only people’s lives, but brought down the global economy as well - targeting almost every industry that was once thriving. Having said that, along with healthcare professionals, the cleaning industry is being sought after more than ever.

Diversey, one of the world’s leading solution providers for the cleaning and hygiene industry has been successfully aiding healthcare facilities in the Middle East region in combating the spread of the COVID 19 infection. Here’s a lowdown on the COVID-19 infection and how Diversey helps combat it.

Coronaviruses: Diagnosis & Symptoms

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a broad family of viruses named after the crown-like spikes on their surface. These viruses can be found in people and animals. “Once a person is infected with a virus, their body becomes a source of virus particles, which can be released via coughing or sneezing (bodily fluids),” says Varun Asser, Sector Manager - Healthcare GCC & Channel Business UAE, Diversey.

This can either end up in a host or an inanimate object that subsequently plays a major role in the transmission. Hence, it is difficult to control. CoV typically causes mild to moderate upper respiratory tract disease in humans but can also cause more severe infections such as pneumonia. Mild illness caused by CoV includes the common cold and influenza-like illness. Severe illness caused by CoV includes Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), and certain pneumonias.

Diagnosis and treatment of CoVID-19 should only be performed by a trained physician who can rule out other potential diseases. Most of those infected have had mild symptoms of fever, cough, headache, stuffy head/runny nose, which may resemble influenza-like illness. 80% have mild illness, 14% have serious illness and 6% are critically ill. The death rate globally has risen to approximately 3.5%.

Best practices to reduce infection risk

Infection control is the need of the hour. Be it hotels, airports, healthcare sector, public parks or residences, there are certain measures that must be followed for infection control.

• Monitor official channels for health information (e.g. WHO, CDC).

• Observe good infection prevention practices, especially in public buildings.

• Wash your hands with soap for at least 20 seconds and keep an alcohol based sanitizer handy.

• People who are sick with symptoms of COVID-19 or other influenza-like illness should wear masks in public to protect others.

• Avoid areas where the outbreak occurred until notified that it is safe to re-enter.

• Minimize direct contact and/or prolonged contact with animals (or uncooked meat) that may carry the virus.

However, facilities have to go beyond these generic measures. “Facilities must ensure they're using disinfectants that have a full virucidal claim and/ or EPA approved/EN tested products against the relevant viral pathogens. SOPs must be in place to ensure sufficient as well as efficient cleaning is happening. Besides this, operators must be fully aware of the outbreak to ensure accountability. For this, wall charts must be made available in public spaces for customer/consumer information and knowledge,” says Varun Asser.

How Diversey helps

• The right product: Diversey has been effectively battling this pandemic ever since its outbreak in the Middle East. It has a variety of products to tackle this pathogen. For instance, hard surfaces can be cleaned and disinfected with the help of concentrated Quaternary Ammonium Compound products available in various pack sizes, ready to use Accelerated Hydrogen peroxide (0.5%) sprays and wipes, and chlorinated tablets. For hand hygiene, they have IPA and Ethanol powered hand disinfectants available in pouches, pocket sized, and table top variants.

• Training: In addition to this, Diversey places special emphasis on training. Basic chemical training is required to ensure operators are handling the chemicals within stipulations. Regardless of the outbreak, Diversey’s disinfectants portfolio is available across a variety of sectors and all its training includes handling of chemicals, application (where to use them), how to use, recognizing and understanding hazard icons and dosages.

Well hotel - an infection prevention program for hospitality, designed by diversey

Diversey’s Well Hotel program focuses on infection prevention to ensure guest and staff safety. It protects its brand and business through a good understanding of infection prevention and outbreak control and operates with clear procedures, effective products and efficient staff training. The program includes white papers and brochures on implementing the right cleaning and sanitation solutions on the hotel's premises. Finally, there is ‘physical proof’ that the hotel can leave in the room if needed - effective and credible.

Tools and resources

• Visual tools, charts and quick guides that help ensure key infection prevention protocols are followed, such as hand wash, hand disinfection, as well as cleaning and sanitization of surfaces and objects.

• Checklists for instant and continued assessment of risk for employees and management.

• Add-on emergency protocols for general cleaning specific to outbreak situations, e.g. how to handle bodily fluid spillages and high risk environments.

Disinfectants and hand sanitizers

Before a product is selected, it must answer three basic questions (or considerations). Is the product effective (scientific question)? It is allowed to be promoted (regulatory question) and above all, is it available (does Diversey have sufficient stock)?

The scientific approach:

This approach is effective because healthcare grade disinfectants will be efficacious against the SARSCoV- 2 (Coronavirus). In fact, alcohol hand rubs with 70%+ alcohol will help combat it. Antibacterial hand soaps are not being promoted as efficacious due to issues with application effectiveness.

The regulatory approach:

In some countries, the regulatory body issues guidelines for when a product can be recommended. In the UAE, Dubai Municipality has communicated a list of approved B2B biocides for professional use.

Checking the availability:

This is managed locally by the country supply chain and communicated to the customer service.

Choosing the right product

Effective infection control is the need of the hour - the fact is undeniable. Hotels, airports, banks, government organizations and every single facility out there is exploring options to achieve this. And luckily, Diversey has tailor made solutions for everyone. Here’s highlighting a few must haves:

• A complete and comprehensive range of sanitizer and disinfectant solutions in ready-touse, concentrated and wipes formats, led by the world leading cleaner disinfectant technology, Accelerated Hydrogen Peroxide (AHP).

• Oxivir, powered by AHP, is a broad spectrum, fast acting, 1-step range of surface disinfectant products that have a leading safety and sustainability profile.

• State of the art systems for hand care for all environments, delivering mild yet effective hand hygiene for reliable infection prevention, better skin protection and sustainable, more efficient operations

• Complete cleaning and hygiene solutions for safer, cleaner environments - bound together in tailored programs and protocols, with extensive support and training resources behind them

Food service

• An infected food handler may be at risk of contaminating food they are preparing

• Sick employees should stay home

• This is a general best practice but especially important now

• Notify your supervisor if you have a family member at home that has COVID-19.

Fabric care

1. For handling and sorting of linen, follow the CDC guidelines.

2. For the laundry process itself, the preferred option is to apply thermal disinfection in line with local regulations. These differ by country, but the safest recommendations are:

• Thermal process 1: 85 ˚C for 15 minutes

• Thermal process 2: 90 ˚C for 10 minutes

• Thermal process 3: 70 ˚C for 25 minutes**

For wash classifications requiring special treatment, we have developed dedicated programs in line with above guidelines.

Alternatively, use a chemo-thermal wash process that follows the CDC guidelines, or use a chemo-thermal process with a locally authorized disinfectant (sanitizer), applied according to the recommended wash process.

Public buildings - safe buildings program

In all areas that you clean and disinfect, pay attention to standard operating procedures, using recommended products only. Specific attention should be paid to hand hygiene and frequently-touched hard surfaces to avoid cross-contamination.

High risk areas

High risk infection areas need to be cleaned on a regular basis. These include areas where traffic is high, bodily spills are frequent or where there is general low level of hygiene.

Food and beverage processing plants

Reducing the risk to your employees, contractors and visitors is critical to maintaining production during any outbreak

Hand Hygiene

• Comprehensive hand hygiene procedures should already be in place within your facility

• Ensure procedures are followed and reiterate training when required

• Make sure hand rub, depending on the region known as hand sanitizer or hand disinfectant is available in key contact areas not just entry and exit of the production environment

Now that you are well aware of the precautions, best practices and solutions for effective infection control, keep your facilities safe from the COVID-19!