Today, the 29th of January 2021, marks exactly a year since the first confirmed COVID case in the UK. Since then, the case rate in the UK has grown to over 3.7 million, and the death rate has exceeded 100,000.
With over 96 million cases and over 2 million deaths worldwide, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Coronavirus COVID-19 is the worst pandemic that we have experienced in over 100 years.
According to the WHO, the virus is mainly transmitted through direct contact with respiratory droplets from an infected person’s coughs or sneezes. Individuals can also become infected after touching surfaces contaminated with the virus and then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth without washing their hands or using an alcohol-based hand gel first.
Coronavirus is an extremely contagious virus. The time from exposure to symptom onset is thought to be 2-14 days, meaning that a person could be contagious for 48 hours before showing symptoms. As well as this, government guidelines suggest that 1 in 3 people are asymptomatic. This allows the virus to spread more easily, as people will not be following the self-isolation advice.
As well as this, a new variant became apparent in Britain towards the end of 2020. Research based on observations of the UK suggests that the new variant could be between 50-70% more transmissible. The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine estimated that the new strain of Corona virus is 56% more contagious. This new variant has 23 mutations compared to the original virus’s 17. One of these new mutations, the N501Y, is located in the spike protein on the surface and binds more tightly to the ACE2 receptors that are located in the lungs, arteries, heart, kidney, and intestines. This could contribute to the transmission of the virus.
Studies taken at Imperial College London predict that the new strain of Coronavirus has an R-number of 1.45. The researchers estimated that during the November Lockdown, previously circulating variants of coronavirus had an R-number of 0.92. This shows that the new strain of the virus is more contagious than pre-existing coronaviruses in the UK.
How long COVID-19 can last on surfaces depends on the material of the surface. Coronavirus can last on plastic and stainless steel for 3-7 days, on paper and glass for up to 4 days, on wood for up to 2 days, on cardboard for 24 hours and on copper for up to 4 hours. This means that the virus can be transferred from contaminated surfaces to a previously ‘healthy’ person if they come in close contact with the surface and then do not wash their hands before touching their face.
Studies done by the National Institution of Allergy and Infection Diseases’ Laboratory of Virology in the Division of Intramural Research have found that infectious diseases can remain in the air for up to 3 hours.
After almost a year of changing restrictions, many people are speculating when this Coronavirus ordeal will be over. Discouragingly, it seems almost impossible to know for sure. According to the UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Sir Patrick Vallance, ‘putting absolute timelines on things is impossible.’ Unfortunately, however, it appears that we will be dealing with the effects of Coronavirus for a long time. Professor of Cellular Microbiology at the University of Reading, Dr Simon Clarke, believes that ‘the reality is that it will be with us forever because it has spread now.’
The Coronavirus pandemic is not the first deadly disease that Westminster Group has tried to provide aid in. Westminster were involved in maintaining operations at Sierra Leone’s Freetown International Airport throughout the Ebola Crisis in 2014-2016.
A team of Westminster’s expats were awarded the UK Ebola Medal for Service in West Africa. The Ebola Medal is a service medal issued to the Armed Forces, and to civilians working either for Her Majesty’s Government or NGOs in support of the British Government’s response to the Ebola crisis.
CEO of Westminster Group, Peter Fowler, commented on the medal:
“I am extremely proud of all our staff, both expat and local, who not only maintained full operations at the airport but also provided considerable assistance to the local community and visiting NGO’s fighting the crisis.
"The award of these medals to our staff is a well-deserved and fitting tribute to them all.”
Westminster Group has been able to take the experience that we gained during the Ebola crisis and apply it to the global Coronavirus pandemic. We are able to provide products, advice, and consultations to various businesses in order to help them stay open and operational during this pandemic.
Westminster Group stock a large range of different products to help protect against the spread of Coronavirus, including sanitisation systems and fever detection systems.
One of our sanitising products is our Contact Free Sanitising Mist Station. Its economic spray/ mist application means there is no sticky residue and no unpleasant smell. It also means that it is a much more cost-effective solution than normal sanitiser bottles, as it can provide over 16,400 applications per refill. Its stylish design can blend in seamlessly with all environments. The unique design allows for brand personalisation at no additional cost, and the ability to choose from 3 discrete colourways means the unit will look ‘on brand’.
UV-C Sanitising is another way of disinfection. Westminster’s range of UV-C Sanitisation systems can disinfect surfaces and sanitise the air in a room to effectively kill Coronavirus COVID-19, VRE, MRSA, and other deadly micro-organisms. One such product is Westminster’s UV-C Portable Handheld Surface Sanitising Device. This product is an ideal portable handheld solution for the sanitisation of surfaces in areas that require quick and efficient disinfection of up to 99.9%.
A different UV-C product is the Portable UV-C Airflow Sanitising Tower. This product is ideal for the sterilisation of air in areas where people are present, such as food preparation facilities, medical facilities, and schools. This product also has up to 99.9% effectiveness when killing deadly microorganisms such as Coronavirus COVID-19.
Another one of our coronavirus solutions is the WG 419 Face Scan Body Temperature Detector. The detector uses infrared thermal imaging technology to detect the temperature of passing people. The system can be used as a mass screening test for identifying individuals that have an above-normal body temperature and may be suffering from Coronavirus or flu variants. The non-contact rapid temperature detection system can automatically broadcast measuring results and give a visual and audible alarm if someone is above the set temperature.