Our statement on the coronavirus
Corona is gaining the upper hand in most European countries and we expect the whole of Europe to experience some form of lockdown in the coming week(s). Governments are asking for flexibility regarding telework. Expat & Co is taking the necessary steps to ensure everyone's safety.
Medical experts warn us that stringent measures will be taken in the coming week. As time passes by, these measures appear clearly around us: colleges and universities are closing their doors and turn towards online teaching, companies are instituting an absolute ban on travelling and meeting, etc.
Containing the virus
It is everyone's responsibility to stop family, friends and colleagues from getting infected to avoid casualties. The high-risk group are those above 70 years of age; people with a pre-existing condition are at higher risk still. Maybe some of your friends and colleagues have family members that have been affected by the virus.
Does it mean young people shouldn't be careful? Absolutely not. Once again, it is a collective responsibility to isolate ourselves as much as possible for a few weeks and have as little physical contact with other people as possible. This is the best way to stop the virus from spreading. If we drastically reduce human contact, the spreading of the virus becomes difficult
If we do nothing, 60 to 70% of the population could be affected by Corona, as per Chancellor Merkel and confirmed by Belgian virologists. Carrying the virus does not mean being ill: some will just be carriers and infect others without becoming ill themselves. Imagine (without immediately panicking, of course) a world where 60% of those you know and care about are ill, where social workers are ill, where department stores are closed because of illness. Although the situation will not be extreme for most, coronavirus does have an enormous impact on our society and the economy.
For that reason, we too, as Expat & Co, have decided to take appropriate measures as of today Thursday 12th March at 12 pm.
We are going to make sure that as many people as possible work alone, in a separate office, or at home. Furthermore, we have asked our employees to take the following measures and we offer this as advice to our clients.
- Have as little live social contact as possible. We for once encourage more contact via social media. Stay away from mass events. Limit indoor sports activities. Instead, go running or biking outside, but don’t fatigue your body too much. That also can affect your resistance.
- Somewhat against the principles of the ecological movement: don't take public transport to work. Take the car. Given the fact that many companies let their people work from home, there shouldn't be much traffic.
- Avoid travelling and meeting in person. Use Skype, Google Hangouts and other videoconference tools instead.
- Only go outside when strictly necessary: to go to the supermarket, doctor, pharmacist, etc.
- If you fear lockdown, make sure you have enough food in the house for about 3 to 4 weeks max. In times of lockdown, deliveries can be compromised. But avoid situations as we see in Australia for toilet paper.
- Children under 16 are the most contagious. If not strictly necessary, avoid contact with children. And stay away from the elderly as much as possible. They are the most susceptible. We have to keep the generations separate as much as possible.
We'd like to remind you of some basic hygiene tips:
- Don't shake hands or kiss. A wave is enough. Everybody understands these days that this is not meant as offensive. Use e.g. plastic gloves in case of necessary bodily contact.
- Wash your hands every 2 hours: before eating, and before and after visiting the toilet. At least 45 seconds per wash. Try to avoid contact between your hands and your face as much as possible.
- Disinfect your workspace regularly: door handles, light switches, handles of cupboards and fridges, etc. Viruses can survive on this for a little while. If you use each other's computer, think of the keyboards and mice.
- Don't sneeze or cough in your hand, but in your elbow or in a paper handkerchief. Throw the handkerchief in a pedal bin.
- Turn down the heat and ventilate the area you are sitting in regularly.
- Mouth masks are useless except for aid workers.
Following these tips does not make us anti-social, quite the contrary. We carry our collective responsibility. We don't make each other sick, and we contain the virus. And by working at home, we still support our economy.
About your insurance cover
1. Are we covered when we have coronavirus?
Yes, everyone is covered for the normal medical costs caused by coronavirus. Only when the Government is taking over and offers treatment for free will there be no cover coming from us anymore.
2. How about travel cancellation?
As epidemics are not covered in a travel cancellation insurance we do not interfere in the costs for cancelling or rescheduling travels.
3. Do we get our money back if we cancel the insurance due to cancelling our travel?
Yes, you do, except for the part of the cancellation insurance, and administration costs.
How? Please just send us an email with your name and policy number, proof of cancellation and your bank account details.
Will this take a long time? I know it is not a real commercial answer, but it’s a fact, and we kindly ask you for your understanding. You are not the only one with this question, you are one of the many. Note also that we are not immune to the virus either. We too could get ill. So, please do not push us too much, do not resend the same email time and again if you don’t get an answer right away. We do what we can. Please have patience.
Thank you all in advance.
Stay healthy and keep in touch (but keep a distance).
The Expat & Co team