WAD PRESS RELEASE ON COVID-19

Posted on Mars 19 2020

March 18, 2020

TO ALL UNIONS, CONFERENCES, MISSIONS, INSTITUTIONS, AND SEVENTH-DAY ADVENTIST CHURCHES MEMBERS IN THE WEST-CENTRAL AFRICA DIVISION

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord,
The administration of the West-Central Africa Division through its Crisis Management Committee is monitoring the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic in the world and its fields.

On March 11, the Leadership met to assess the travel of its employees. At that time, travel restrictions were put in place and traveling employees were called home. In addition, the Division decided to suspend all major gatherings such as camps, retreats, congress in the entire territory of the Division till further notice with immediate effect.

Following the decision of the Cote d'Ivoire Government prohibiting the gathering of more than 50 people for 15-day period renewable from March 18, 2020, at midnight, the leadership of the Division, in consultation with the Crisis Management Committee, has decided that employees who work at the headquarters will work remotely from home, from March 19, 2020, for two weeks as a precautionary measure due to a heightened index of suspicion related to the COVID-19 pandemic. To further protect employees and the surrounding community, the decision has been made to close access to the Division's building for the same two weeks.

The Administration of the Division is urging the administration of the various Unions, Conferences, Missions, and Institutions to see to it that at all levels, local governmental recommendations to prevent the spread of virus be enforced by the leadership and followed by members.

The following recommendations from our Health Ministries Department could be an additional guide to you as you are doing your best to fight the COVID-19 outbreak:

AT PERSONAL LEVEL

It is important to adopt the following precautions:
- Clean your hands frequently with soap and water or with a hydro-alcoholic solution containing at least 60% alcohol
- Maintain, if possible, a distance of 1- 2 meters between you and the people you may meet
- Avoid touching or rubbing your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- Adopt a healthy lifestyle to strengthen your immune system: adequate sleep (7-8h / night), daily physical exercise (at least 30 min), a plant-based diet low in refined sugars, sufficient water intake 1.5 to 2 l per day and regular ventilation of the home and workplace
More information at: https://www.secretsofwellness.org/
- In the kitchen make sure to have well-cooked food and clean products. If you use animal products choose pasteurized ones (like pasteurized milk)
- If you start to cough and experience changes in your breathing, seek medical assistance quickly and tell the health professional you visited where you have traveled
- If you are sick, do not go to public places. Stay at home
- Follow the recommended usage for coughing and sneezing: sneeze into your bent arm at your elbow -
Avoid unnecessary travel, especially to endemic areas. In times of high epidemics, use a mask for air travel, public transports and other crowded places
- Avoid open markets and direct contact with animals and animal products –
To stay informed follow the links bellow:
https://www.santepubliquefrance.fr/maladies-et-traumatismes/maladies-et-infectionsrespiratoires/infection-a-coronavirus/articles/covid-19-situation-epidemiologiqueinternationale
https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019 https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/travellers-health

Elderly and individuals with existing chronic conditions such as heart disorders, diabetes, liver disorders, and respiratory disease should be especially cautious to avoid contamination.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR OFFICES & CHURCH ADMINISTRATION

Due to the nature of our work and the frequent travels of Officers and Department directors, we may be more prone to contamination through infectious diseases than other institutions or companies. Thus:

OFFICES

• Appoint someone that will be responsible to coordinate all the hygienic measures
• Appoint a person in charge of communications on that topic
• Post in the toilet the recommended methodology for hand washing
• Make sure there is always enough soap and/or hydro-alcoholic solutions containing at least 60% alcohol
• Have disposable paper towels or a device to dry your hands in the bathrooms. Do not use cloth towels.
• Clean regularly the handles of the doors with hydro-alcoholic solutions.
• Have good ventilation of the building and offices, opening windows several times a day.

INFORMATION FOR THE EMPLOYEES OF OUR OFFICES

Do not come to the office = Stay at home / Work from home if :
- You are coughing – Even if you think you may know the cause or even if it is minor coughing
- Or if you are sneezing
- Or if you have difficulties breathing
- Or if you have a sore throat
- Or if you have fever
- Or if you feel sick & unwell
- You have been in contact with sick individuals or persons who turn out to be sick.
Stay at home 2 days after the end of those symptoms or until a health care provider has cleared you to return to work.

HYGIENE

- Take the time to read & know how to practice the protective measures - this includes the recommended hand washing technic & avoiding touching your face with unclean hands
- Traveling staff: for travels that may not be avoided seek reapproval with the administration.
- If you have to use public transports like trains, planes, buses and other crowded, confined places, consider wearing a mask and & have a hand sanitizer with you for regular use. Or try to avoid rush hours.

DISTANCE

- Keep at a distance from work colleagues 1-2 meters
- Do not shake hands or give hugs
- Do not congregate in areas where people socialize.

MEETINGS & WORK

- Consider using the phone, Internet, Skype, Zoom, etc. to conduct business with those who are in-house.
- Consider canceling or postponing some out-of-house events, meetings, etc. Or when feasible organize them per video conference

TRAVELS

- Avoid private & professional travels to places in which COVID-19 is very prevalent.
- Check your schedules and see how you could reduce traveling in the coming 2-3 months. Avoid all unnecessary travels.
- For travels that may not be avoided seek reapproval with the administration.

WORK CONTINUITY

- Employees should make plans & arrangements for business continuity, in case some of us or all of us would have to work from home or be absent due to quarantine, sickness or illness of family members.

MEALS

- Avoid eating in groups– organize some rotation & keep the kitchen well ventilated.
- Consider having your break/meal at your desk or away from others – or outside by nice weather.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR CHURCHES, PLACES OF WORSHIP & HOME GROUPS

INSTRUCTIONS FOR LOCAL CHURCH LEADERS

• Appoint someone that will be responsible to coordinate all the hygienic measures
• Appoint someone to be in charge of communications on that topic
• Post in the toilet the recommended methodology for hand washing.
• Make sure there is always enough soap and/or hydro-alcoholic solutions containing at least 60% alcohol
• Have disposable paper towels or a device to dry your hands in the bathrooms. Do not use cloth towels. • Clean the handles of the doors of places of worship with hydro-alcoholic solutions, three or four times per encounter.
• Have good ventilation of the churches – especially opening largely the windows before the arrival of the members and during the breaks.

INFORMATION TO SHARE WITH THE MEMBERS during the announcements, on the Church bulletin, and the Church board. Make regular reminders per email or during the announcements.
• There is no need to panic. In a large number of cases, those affected by this virus have moderate symptoms.
• However, each one of us is called to help contain the spread of this virus, by respecting hygienic principles and by having a responsible attitude.
• To avoid infecting other people, do not come to church = stay at home if:
- you are coughing - even if you think you have just a simple cold
- you have a sore throat
- you have difficulties breathing
- you are sneezing
- you have a fever or if you feel sick or unwell
- You have been in contact with sick individuals or persons who turn out to be sick
- Stay at home 2 days after the end of those symptoms or until a health care provider has cleared you.
• Consult a doctor or emergency department in case of the above symptoms.
• Notify your pastor as soon as possible if you have been infected.
• For greetings: do not kiss, do not hug or shake hands.
• Elderly and individuals with existing chronic conditions such as heart disorders, diabetes, liver disorders, and respiratory disease should be especially cautious to avoid contamination

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR SCHOOLS & EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

INSTRUCTIONS FOR SCHOOL & INSTITUTION LEADERS

• Appoint someone that will be responsible to coordinate all the hygienic measures
• Appoint someone to be in charge of communications on that topic
• Post in the toilet the recommended methodology for hand washing
• Make sure there is always enough soap and/or hydro-alcoholic solutions containing at least 60% alcohol
• Have disposable paper towels or a device to dry your hands in the bathrooms. Do not use cloth towels
• Clean regularly the handles of the doors with hydro-alcoholic solutions
• Have good ventilation of the classrooms & offices, opening largely the windows several times a day

INFORMATION TO SHARE WITH THE STUDENTS & PARENTS Make regular reminders

• There is no need to panic. In a large number of cases, those affected by this virus have moderate symptoms.
• However, each one of us is called to help contain the spread of this virus, by respecting hygienic principles and by having a responsible attitude.
• To avoid infecting other people, do not come to school (= do not send your children to school) if: o You are coughing – even if you think you may know the cause or even if it is minor coughing, or if you are sneezing, or if you have difficulties breathing, or if you have a sore throat, or if you have a fever, or if you feel sick & unwell. You have been in contact with sick individuals or persons who turn out to be sick.
• Consult a doctor or emergency department in case of symptoms.
• For greetings: do not kiss, do not hug or shake hands
• Keep at a distance from friends 1-2 meters.
• Do not congregate in areas where people socialize.
The above recommendations also apply for: outreach activities in the communities as well as inhouse meetings.
More importantly, the leadership of the Division is asking all members to pray. Pray for those who are working to heal those who are sick. Pray for those who are battling illness and pray for world leaders and doctors as they face tough decisions to curb this pandemic.
Let us not forget as recommended by the World Seventh-day Adventist Church's President, Pastor Ted Wilson, to be an example to those around you. "Be an anchor of stability. Be a pillar of hope, all grounded in Jesus Christ," he said. "I urge you to be a strong testimony and witness for the Lord. God wants you to be a special witness for Him even in this time of heightened concern and chaotic behavior. Be a strong, firm person grounded on the rock, Jesus Christ as you appropriately engage in Total Member Involvement."

Maranatha!

WAD Administration

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