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WHO Declares Swine Flu Pandemic

The WHO have decided that Swine Flu has reached such levels as to be classified as a global flu pandemic. This is due to the rapid increase in cases in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile. There are now some 30,000 cases worldwide, and there have been 141 deaths, none of which have been in the UK. There have been around 800 cases in the UK. Swine flu has currently been moderate, and has been causing mild symptons, but there are concerns that this may not be the case if there is a second wave as autumn approaches. Most cases are occurring in young working age adults and a third to a half of complications are presenting in otherwise healthy people.

So What Does This Mean for Your Business?

You need to confirm that your current business continuity arrangements include consideration of staffing, and the potential impacts of a loss of a large number of staff. Staff absences may well not be spread evenly across your business, and you need to be able to ensure that you have sufficient trained staff to be able to continue your business critical activities, as identified through a business impact analysis. Crisis Management training and exercising will assist any Incident Management Teams to understand their roles and responsibilities during such an incident, and will give confidence in their ability to ensure an effective response.

It is essential that there is an awareness programme for all members of staff so that they understand the possible impact on the business, and where they may have a role to play. Equally, absence and pay policies will need to be confirmed to reassure staff.

Cambridge Risk Solutions have worked with businesses and other organisations, such as the NHS, helping to shape and confirm their pandemic planning arrangments, and delivering training and exercising. With the benefit of this experience, we have produced a short checklist for businesses to give a few starting points for considering their pandemic planning. It is available as a free download at www.cambridge-risk.com/downloads.