Is security prepared to combat Coronavirus

1 March 2020 Security Services & Risk Management

A few months ago, ISIO suggested in articles that security managers must ensure that there is a contingency in the budget to obtain equipment or skills training in case of an unknown threat that could arrive out of the blue.

Any responsible managing or finance director must consider allocating funding and preparing for this emerging threat [Coronavirus] because it has life impacting possibilities.

Some countries would be at higher risk than others. When the country is experiencing high rate of infection related to TB (Tuberculosis) or HIV, any viral disease could massively compromise the lives of people, besides putting intensive stress on the economy. This could impact not only the health services, but also the expenses incurred relating to sick leave, cross-skill training and low production levels.

When Critical Thinking the problem and the situation, we initially consider the person because it is not the weapon that causes havoc – it is the person.

The issues related to the person could be:

• They are unaware that they are ill.

• They may be in denial.

• They may believe that they can self-medicate and cure themselves with authentic or unusual medicines even to the extent from obtaining such from their witchdoctor or they may rely on their religious faith.

• They know that they are ill, but lie or hide the information because they fear that they cannot afford go to quarantine.

Considering equipment, manpower training and policy

Training for staff

Obviously, the biggest nightmare is not knowing who is a threat until one can truly see the threat. The faster a person of interest is identified, the better. A non-intrusive method is to interview someone that is suspected of having flu symptoms, however, consider the fact that people may lie or hide their medical status.

One may then need to determine where and who they were with over the past few days. Subsequently, quick interviewing methods based on deception detection is required (ISIO highly recommends the HIM programme:

Strangely enough, you would be surprised how many people do not know how to wash their hands. Regardless, show them when talking to them: ‘By soaping up between fingers and even fingernails’. Also ensure that bathrooms are stocked with medical soap.

Furthermore, train all that touching others must only occur when wearing medical gloves. Ensure that any cuts or open wounds are quickly cleaned with disinfectant and securely covered with plasters.


Some type of thermal detector should be used, whether it is on a CCTV camera or a handheld device, to identify people that have high temperatures. Medical gloves and face masks for all staff and especially security staff are essential. It is also wise to invest in mouth-to-mouth respiration protectors for safety officers or staff familiar with first aid training.

Consider policy

It may be the case that people may come into contact with many other people. Some may be tested once and declared free of the virus. Subsequently, all people must be closely and continuously monitored for flu symptoms. Any educated HR professional in the company would be able to contribute towards policy as well as the training of staff. (Perhaps security can assist in the training. The benefit of security staff assisting would be reinforcing the knowledge and heightening situational awareness, which is a key factor for security awareness.)

Furthermore, staff that are travelling must be supported by HR and/or security in every way. It is suggested that HR and security ensure that staff who travel are provided a travel bag with the necessary items to protect themselves, which should include masks, gloves etc.

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