Businesses should boost flu response capabilities

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Published May 12, 2009 on Business Times

Businesses should boost flu response capabilities

ALL organisations should remain vigilant and take this opportunity to build up their pandemic flu response capability and capacity, that was the key message at yesterday's briefing by the Singapore Business Federation and Singapore National Employers Federation.

At the briefing on Influenza A and business continuity management (BCM), ministry of health group director Arthur Chern said that although the virus might be milder than expected, businesses should prepare themselves so they are able to respond swiftly if the situation escalates. As of yesterday, 29 countries reported 4,379 cases of H1N1 infection.

Dr Chern also emphasised that organisations should keep their employees two metres away from each other as that will minimise the spread of the flu bug.

Quote from Dr Goh Moh Heng

BCM Institute president Goh Moh Heng said the upgrade of the flu alert from yellow to orange was beneficial in helping many companies, as they then found out what was no longer working, such as thermal scanners and thermometers.

He added that all companies should have business continuity plans in place by now, if not they should work 'like mad' on it.

'As far as it is concerned, (the pandemic) will happen. The most important part is when and how extensive it is going to be,' Dr Goh said.

He also encouraged organisations to communicate with employees, as pandemics can affect psychologically, causing mental fatigue and even resignations.

Igno Neu, a United Nations flu adviser, said it was important to have full capacity should a pandemic hit.

Dr Neu added that the 'risk is not the current virus but when it mutates', and that the H5N1 avian flu is still around and a threat.

'The lack of preparedness in one sector will add to problems in other sectors,' he emphasised.

This will then reduce the resources and capacities of the health sector and government, leading to more infection as well as a disastrous economic impact, Dr Neu added.