Dear Princess Protea Collection Staff, Friends and Guests,
8 March 2020
In January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of a new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Hubei Province, China to be a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Most people infected with COVID-19 experience mild symptoms and recover. Risk of serious illness rises with age: 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 any serious illness, and so this is a concern. COVID-19 is much like other flu’s, and as with any infectious disease, prevention is better than cure.
The WHO and public health authorities around the world are taking action to contain the COVID-19 outbreak. Africa has the lowest transmission rates of COVID-19, with no cases until one week ago. The South African government has been planning for this eventuality since January 2020 by preparing for laboratory and community surveillance and testing, training of Health Care Workers for case identification and management, developing guidelines for quarantining patients and contacts, and equipping selected hospitals to manage COVID-19 patients. In South Africa, there are currently 7 cases, all of which were on a tour of Italy together. The situation is being carefully monitored by the South African National Institute of Communicable Diseases (NICD), National Department of Health and the WHO. Thus far, no cases have been reported in country that are linked to these initial 7.
As one of our owners is a senior Public Health Expert, yesterday she and the Princess Protea Collection took advice from senior epidemiologists on the an appropriate prevention response to the current situation for our property portfolio. Listed below are the actions that we and our staff will be taking. We ask all of our guests to read and adhere to these guidelines. These will be regularly reviewed and updated as more information becomes available.
How 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. People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled by them. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu.
What we are doing
For the present time the risk of exposure to COVID-19 is low, but we are being cautious and implementing some preventive measures which are listed below.
- All surfaces are cleaned daily with a disinfectant solution. Kitchen surfaces are sprayed witha solution that is in line with World Health Organisation Guidelines, 3 times per day when guests are in residence.
- All guests and staff should use a disinfectant on their mobile devices a minimum of 3 times per day.
- All staff and guests must thoroughly wash their hands with soap and water for 20 seconds. This must be done more often than normal. Please ensure you wash your hands before preparing and eating any food/drink.
- We have display posters promoting hand-washing at all our properties as a friendly reminder to all staff, and guests.
- We should all practice good respiratory hygiene which involves coughing into the bend in your elbow or , preferably, a tissue, and avoiding touching your face, eyes or nose. Wash your hands after disposing of the tissue or after coughing.
- Our staff are being regularly trained in infection control measures to ensure that they comply with strict hygiene standards aligned to the WHO guidelines. This will include hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.
- If COVID-19 starts to spread in our communities, anyone with even a mild cough or lowgrade fever (37.3 C or more) should stay at home or self-quarantine. Please inform one of the Princess Protea Collection management, and please also seek urgent advice (ideally telephonically) from your healthcare provider. You can also call the South African NICD Hot Line number 082 883 9920 which gives the latest updates. Also check other websites: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19 or https://www.who.int/healthtopics/coronavirus
- Whether COVID-19 or not, we have advised our staff to self-quarantine for at least 7 days after any cold or flu symptoms start to ensure good hygiene at our properties
- If you are required to go out or be in contact with other people while awaiting screening, use ordinary surgical face masks rather than N95 face masks and stay at least one meter away from other people. Please note that the latest research shows that face masks will not protect you against COVID-19, but good respiratory and hand washing practices will.
- We have restricted our staff travel to reduce their risk of infection. Staff who live offsite will be changing into their work uniform on site rather than travelling in their uniform to work.
- We encourage you to develop new ways of greeting people, thus you should avoid shaking hands or hugging, but do it through creative ways such as knocking elbows and/or touching feet.
These measures can ensure our staff and guests, are well looked after during a stay, and that every effort it made to prevent new infections while staying at a Princess Protea Collection Property. It will also enable you to protect yourselves while travelling through our beautiful country.
With love and light
The Princess Protea Collection Family