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Don’t ignore the threat of swine flu

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The World Health Organisation says it’s “very concerned” about the spread of the virus. The Guardian reports the WHO has raised the pandemic level to phase four “which recognises that there is now sustained transmission of the infection from human to human. It is two phases short of a pandemic.”

The first two people to be treated for swine flu in Britain have been named as Scottish couple Iain and Dawn Askham. They had been honeymooning in Cancún.

Martin Dunne is a partner at Sayers Butterworth. He says small businesses must not ignore the threat a pandemic could develop and take action.

“I suspect most small businesses will bury their heads in the sand with this,” he says. “But in this day and age, the bare minimum businesses should implement is the ability for everyone to work from home in some form or another.

“Your server should be backed up remotely so you can access it online from home. If swine flu develops into a pandemic, you also should have a chain of command that starts with one person and filters down to get the message to everyone not to come into work.”

Dunne says another thing to consider is becoming as paperless a company as possible: “If you can’t get into the building because everyone’s been ordered by the government to stay home, how will you access your paper files? At our firm, every letter than comes through the front door is scanned so there’s a copy of it on the server and we can access it from our home computer.”

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