Coronavirus - What Do I Need To Know?

Coronavirus - What Do I Need To Know?

March 11, 2020 | 9months | NEWS AND INTEREST

What is COVID-19?

COVID-19 is an infection caused by a type of Coronavirus. This class of viruses usually originates by way of zoonotic infection (which is where the infection is spread from animals to humans).

As you’ll have seen from the news COVID-19 is also spreading human to human, with the primary means of spreading through saliva droplets which is similar to the common cold. Reassuringly the vast majority of people who contract COVID-19 experience only mild symptoms, potentially including a fever, a cough and shortness of breath.

What risk does it pose?


Although the mortality rate is yet to be confirmed, it is currently estimated at just under 2% of infections within China. In other countries, the reported mortality rate is lower. A recent review from the New England Journal of Medicine estimates the actual mortality rate to be under 1%, closer to seasonal flu. Their reasoning is based on the finding that cases are generally under-reported within those infected who only have mild symptoms. COVID-19 infection is most dangerous to elderly people and to those with underlying chronic diseases or illnesses.

This should allow you to feel reassured that although the disease is highly infectious and spreading quickly it is likely to cause only a mild illness in the vast majority of infections. If exposed, the incubation period (period taken to contract the infection) seems to be between 2 to 14 days. It is important to be closely monitored during this period for any symptoms.

How can I minimise infection?


There is currently no vaccine to prevent or treat COVID-19, meaning the only you to avoid infection is to avoid being exposed to it entirely. There are a number of preventative actions you can take in your day-to-day life to reduce your risk of exposure:

Washing your hands regularly


Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds – we’ve heard there are a few songs that can help you with the timing of these:

  • Happy Birthday (repeat 3 times)
  • Dancing Queen by Abba (the chorus)
  • I love Rock’n’Roll by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts (the chorus)
  • Say My Name by Destiny’s Child by Destiny’s Child (the chorus)

Ensure you wash your hands before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Warm soapy water is effective though you can also used alcohol-based hand sanitizers with a 60% concentration of alcohol or more.

Alcohol gel is available in all of our offices for use on entry to the building and also interview rooms. We also have hand washing facilities available for those that would prefer to use soap and water.

Follow good hygiene procedures when coughing and sneezing


Be careful to over your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or a tissue when you cough or sneeze and ensure you dispose of your tissue immediately.

Try to keep a one metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Avoid shaking hands


It may be polite to shake hands when greeting people but avoiding unnecessary contact with others will minimise your risk.

Our advisers will greet you without shaking hands for the time being.

Clean surfaces regularly


Regularly cleaning and using disinfectant on surfaces that are frequently touched will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading. Door handles, handrails, toilet flushes and light switches are some of the most touched places that people may often forget to clean.

What if I’m infected or potentially infected and can’t work/have to self-isolate?


EMPLOYED


If you are employed, please speak to your employer in the first instance as your sick pay entitlement will be outlined in your employment contract.

The Government has issued emergency legislation in light of the Coronavirus pandemic where employees who are eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which is normally not paid for the first three days of illness, will be paid from day one. SSP is set at £94.25 per week and you must be earning at least £118 per week to qualify this. If you self-isolate you must have been advised to do so by an NHS or health professional in order to qualify for SSP.

Your employer may pay you more however it’s important to check what you’re entitled to and plan accordingly.

If you have an Income Protection policy in place and have a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus you should contact your insurer who will assess and pay claims as per their normal process and reflecting your chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

If you an Income Protection policy in place and have to self-isolate, these claims will be assessed on an individual basis as they would normally fall out with an insurers terms and conditions. Self-isolation which is not medically-advised would likely not be covered, however each claim would be assessed on it’s own merit.

If your child’s school closes, or your child or another dependent relative becomes unwell or has been medically advised to go into self-isolation you are entitled to a reasonable amount of time off work to help them through such an unexpected event. You are not entitled to pay during this time, however this will be outlined in your employment contract.

SELF-EMPLOYED


If you are self-employed you are not entitled to SSP.

If you have an Income Protection policy in place and have a confirmed diagnosis of Coronavirus you should contact your insurer who will assess and pay claims as per their normal process and reflecting your chosen waiting period and the policy terms and conditions.

If you an Income Protection policy in place and have to self-isolate, these claims will be assessed on an individual basis as they would normally fall out with an insurers terms and conditions. Self-isolation which is not medically-advised would likely not be covered, however each claim would be assessed on it’s own merit.

Is there a way to protect myself?

Quite simply, yes.

An Income Protection policy provides you with a monthly tax-free income should you become unable to work due to illness or injury. Having a policy which replaces your income in the event of being signed off work by a doctor gives you payments to cover essentials such as household bills, mortgage payments, rent, childcare as well as maintaining your standard of living.

This allows you to concentrate on getting better and reduces the financial pressure on you during a period of illness or injury.

When deciding if income protection would be right for you, consider the following:

  • What savings do you have? How many months income would these equate to, and what would you do if you were off work for longer than this time?
  • What employer sick pay do you receive? Does your employer pay sick pay and if so, how long for? What provisions do you have in place for after this time?
  • Could you survive on Government benefits? Do you know what benefits you’d be entitled to in the event of long-term illness or injury? Many people think the state will look after them however the amount your entitled to could fall far short of what you’re currently earning.
  • Does your partner earn enough to support you both? Would your partner be able to financially support you both during a period of illness, and would you be able to maintain your standard of living?

An Income Protection policy provides you with a monthly income to allow you maintain your lifestyle in the event of illness or injury. This stops you having to rely on a partner, utilise your hard-earned savings or rely on an already overstretched government.

We have policies and premiums available to suit most budgets and our team of advisers will ensure you have a policy that’s suitable for your needs.

Get in touch for a FREE, no obligation appointment to discuss your Income Protection needs today.

01294 539267
info@fsscotlandltd.co.uk
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