Tips and advice for marine surveyors about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

The International Institute of Marine Surveying (IIMS) is concerned for the health and well-being of its members as well as any marine surveyor, inspector or examiner travelling locally and/or internationally for work whilst Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread globally.

Already there is evidence that the outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) is having a profound effect on some areas of the marine surveying profession. But the picture is fluid, changing hourly and by the day, so you are advised to check the current status before you travel for work.

How Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads
When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects, such as desks, tables or telephones. It is possible to catch Coronavirus (COVID-19) by touching contaminated surfaces or objects and then touching the eyes, nose and/or mouth. If you are standing within one metre of a person with Coronavirus (COVID-19) it is possible to catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads in a similar way to flu. Most people infected with Coronavirus (COVID-19) experience mild symptoms and recover in several days. However, some go on to experience more serious illness and may require hospital care. Risk of serious illness appears to rise with age – so far, people over 40 seem to be more vulnerable than those under 40. People with weakened immune systems and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease are also more vulnerable to serious illness.

Give yourself the best chance of avoiding Coronavirus (COVID-19)
You are advised to wash your hands more often than usual and for a minimum of 20 seconds using soap and hot water, particularly after coughing, sneezing and blowing your nose, or after being in public areas where other people are doing so. Use alcohol based hand sanitiser if that’s all you have access to.
To reduce the spread of germs when you cough or sneeze, cover your mouth and nose with a tissue, or your sleeve if you don’t have a tissue (but not your hands) and throw the tissue away immediately. Then wash your hands or use only an alcohol based hand sanitising gel.
Clean and disinfect regularly touched objects and surfaces using regular cleaning products to reduce the risk of passing the infection on to other people.

Before travelling:
– Make sure you have the latest information on areas where Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading (see links below).
– Based on the latest information, you should assess and weight up the risks related to your trip.
– If you are at higher risk of serious illness (e.g. older or with medical conditions such as diabetes, heart and lung disease) avoid travelling to areas where Coronavirus COVID-19 is spreading.
– Consider travelling with small bottles (under 100 cl) of alcohol-based hand sanitiser rub, which facilitates regular hand-washing.

While travelling:
– Wash your hands regularly and stay at least one metre away from people who are coughing or sneezing.
– Ensure you know what to do and who to contact if you start to feel unwell while travelling.
– Ensure you comply with instructions from local authorities in the area you are travelling to. If you are told not to go somewhere you should comply with this and comply with any local restrictions on travel, movement or large gatherings.

When you return from travelling:
– Once you are back from an area where Coronavirus (COVID-19) is active you should monitor yourself for symptoms for 14 days and take your temperature twice a day.
– If you develop even a mild cough or low grade fever (i.e. a temperature of 37.3 C or more) you should stay at home and self-isolate. This means avoiding close contact (one metre or nearer) with other people, including family members.
– You should also telephone your local healthcare provider or public health department, giving them details of your recent travel and symptoms.

Useful resources:

World Health Organisation questions and answers page about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Myth-busters about Coronavirus (COVID-19)

Worldometer update and latest virus statistics

World Health Organisation Situation Reports (updated daily)

Travel and work safely, but remember it is a rapidly changing situation.

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