Tayside business leaders have revealed plans are in place to limit the spread of coronavirus following news of the first confirmed case in Scotland
Health experts have urged the public not to panic, with Government officials warning the disease could spread quickly in the weeks and months ahead.
And following the news of the first confirmed case, several businesses across Tayside are taking steps to ensure the risk of a spread is kept to a minimum.
Bosses at Journeycall in Arbroath, which employs around 350 people, have encouraged staff to cancel non-essential meetings and travel.
Theresa Slevin, CEO of the ESP Group which operates Journeycall, said: “These precautions include cancelling non essential meetings and travel between staff members, sending out information packs giving World Health Organisation advice to staff and buying in bulk loads of anti bacterial -prevention products.
“We are being very careful not to cause panic but we are trying to be as responsible as possible.
“We are signposting staff to the relevant advice and sharing Scottish Government and WHO guidance with staff.
“We are also gathering information on all staff leisure leave regarding where they are travelling to.”
One of Tayside’s other leading employers, Michelin Dundee, is also keeping a close eye on developments.
Donald Mackenzie, head of personnel at Michelin Dundee, said: “As always, our absolute priority is employee safety.
“We’re constantly monitoring the latest advice from the Government and the National Health Service and we’re making sure that information is available to colleagues on the intranet, via email, on posters or during meetings.
“Guidance includes travel advice and hygiene tips, and any decision we make is based on a thorough knowledge of the latest and most credible information.”
Union bosses in the city are closely monitoring developments across businesses and the public sector in Dundee, to ensure any staff who have gone into self isolation over coronavirus fears are not penalised.
Bob McGregor, of Unite the Union, has made a call to businesses to ensure staff are receiving full pay.
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He said: “Unite is calling on all responsible employers to pay full wages for any absence required by our members so as to discourage attendance at work while ill or while in self-isolation.
“The law may not demand this in every case but our members should not have to choose between risking others or not being able to pay the rent.”
Helen Meldrum, of the GMB, said: “Government and NHS advice to self isolate cannot be used against any worker for sick or pay purposes, and we would vigorously defend anyone who is at risk of losing pay or being disciplined for following official advice.
“We have written to all of our members, and in particular, we expect employers who have public facing workers in the community to ensure all possible measures are being put in place to mitigate the spread of this virus, or any other infectious disease.”
The Scottish Prison Service has also said it will keep a close eye on developments to ensure the virus is not spread among staff or inmates.
A spokeswoman said: “The safety and wellbeing of those living and working in our establishments is a priority for the Scottish Prison Service (SPS).
“The SPS are following the advice of Health Protection Scotland and we have issued guidance to staff and those in our care about steps which should be taken to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
“At this time there are no restrictions on movement in place therefore establishments are continuing to operate visits as normal.”