No panic if practical measures are taken
Scotland’s third sector organisations should put health first when making decisions around coronavirus.
Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), is urging the body’s own members and the wider voluntary sector in Scotland to take care of the health of staff, volunteers and beneficiaries and to follow official advice.
It comes after a number of groups ditched public events and gatherings over fears of spreading the Covid-19 virus.
Peoples Postcode Lottery, Diabetes UK and the Microbiology Society are the latest to cancel major meetings this week.
Fowlie said: “Currently the advice is for most people to continue to go to work, school and other public places as normal which means there is no reason to cancel large charity events at this point, although we are advising organisations planning events to keep these under review, should the situation change at short notice.
“Employers should also assess their remote-working policies, should staff or volunteers have to work from home or the use of public transport is affected.
“We have published information on our website which details the symptoms of Covid-19 and how organisations can help to prevent the spread of the virus, and are signposting to official channels such as the NHS Inform and Scottish Government websites for the most up to date information available.”
Last week Kate Wyatt, partner at Lindsays, said charities should prepare for a worst-case scenario, including staff being infected, others going into self-isolation and the prospect that they may have to close the doors of their buildings, to employees and clients.
The first person to be diagnosed with Covid-19 in Scotland was from Tayside on 1 March.
Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: "We expect the number of cases to rise and Scotland is well-prepared for a significant outbreak of coronavirus. There is currently no treatment or vaccine so early detection measures will continue to be vital in helping to prevent the spread of the virus."
The Scottish Government has warned up to 80% of the population could become infected, with potentially 4% of this group requiring hospital treatment.