- The first cases of infection with the coronavirus in the Netherlands and Twente have been reported
- Asito is committed to preventing the spread of the virus through special hygiene and cleaning protocols
As a cleaning company, Asito receives many questions about the coronavirus from concerned customers and employees. The questions from companies that are customers are mostly about what can be done to prevent coronavirus infection. In addition, Asito receives questions from concerned employees who have to clean areas that may be contaminated. Asito has therefore set up a special steering committee that will take all necessary measures to keep the risk of infection in check. The company’s roots are in Almelo, but Asito’s cleaners are active across the country. This means the actions of the company have a great impact.
Asito has drawn up a hygiene protocol to prevent the coronavirus. It explains how you can make sure your hands are hygienic. The pamphlets have been distributed to all locations where Asito is active so that everyone who works in such a building is aware of it. “Good hand hygiene is the most important way of preventing infection”, according to Joost Brinkhuis, chairman of the Corona steering committee at Asito. Wet your hands, use liquid soap, lather your hands (until over the wrists) by rubbing them together for at least 10 seconds with the soap. Be sure to lather between your fingers and don’t forget your fingertips. Finally, thoroughly rinse your hands under running water, and it is best to use a paper towel to dry your hands properly. Coughing and sneezing should be done into your elbow. “There is a great demand for disinfecting gel”, says Joost. “We supplied this to many of our customers, but it is sufficient if you wash your hands according to our hygiene protocol.”
It is important to distinguish fact from fiction if you want to know what you can and should do. This is why Asitoexplicitly follows the guidelines used by the National Institute for Public Health and Environment (RIVM). If there is a suspected infection, only the contact surfaces are disinfected, not the entire building. “The more you disinfect, the more chance you have of viruses mutating or becoming resistant. Disinfecting an entire building is therefore against the RIVM guidelines”, says Joost. To protect the personnel, Asito only starts the disinfection procedure in these cases after 24 hours, so that the cleaners cannot become infected. The virus cannot live outside a body for more than 2 hours. To be on the safe side, Asito uses a period of 24 hours. During these 24 hours, preparations are made in terms of materials, resources and people so that they can start immediately after.
In general, we do not have to worry yet, says Joost Brinkhuis, Asito wants to deliberately prevent a panic reaction. “One of the most important things is to keep a sober look at what is happening. There are currently 82 infections in the Netherlands (on 3/5/2020), a flu outbreak spreads much faster. In other words, we have it fairly well under control.” However, it is still important to work on prevention with everything we can do, such as following the Asito hygiene protocol. In addition, Asito has advised staff not to shake hands anymore, and they closely monitor complaints from their staff. The company does not use face masks. Masks impede breathing and thus the work of the personnel. Besides, only special face masks work, and they are only helpful if you get close to someone infected. The use of face masks is not yet recommended by the RIVM.
Joost Brinkhuis, voorzitter stuurgroep 'corona' bij Asito
The difference between Corona and a normal flu virus is that you cannot (yet) be vaccinated against Corona. In addition, the disease is thought to be more deadly than the normal flu (0.1% versus 2% estimates). Still, only people who are already in weaker health have died from the virus so far. If you have been within two meters of someone infected with Corona, you may be infected. However, not everyone who has the flu or a cold should be worried. “You should only be worried about Corona if you have encountered someone that has been to contaminated areas, such as northern Italy. If that is the case, you should call the doctor if you have respiratory problems, a bad cough and a fever.” Joost does understand the concerns of, among others, his employees. “We also have personnel who have to clean aeroplanes, some of which have just returned from China. We have made agreements about this with KLM, so that our staff are not endangered.”
Asito is also anticipating on an unexpected situation in which the virus will spread more widely through the Netherlands. In that case, there will be greater demand for disinfection teams, who will have to clean contaminated areas. The company ensures that additional capacity is already being created so that if necessary, the company can handle the increased demand.