How the coronavirus is affecting the auto transport industry (for Carriers)
A guide for auto transport carriers
It’s been labelled a pandemic which has made people panic, but is it as bad as you think? The first cases of the novel coronavirus were reported in China at the end of December 2019. One month later, nearly 10,000 cases had been reported across 21 countries, the USA included.
That being said, and to put numbers into perspective, in the US there have been 1,629 cases and just 41 deaths. These figures have been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. They are updated every weekday at noon and you can find the latest figures here.
There’s no denying that the coronavirus is a concern, but it can be contained and life can continue as normally as possible if everyone takes responsibility for their actions.
This guide is going to provide some practical advice for auto transport carriers and answer some of your questions.
What is the coronavirus?
The coronavirus disease currently being experienced across the world (COVID-19) is one of a family of viruses, common in people and different species of animals. As you might expect, with a new strain of a virus, there’s still lots to learn.
It’s been called a pandemic because it’s a new strain of the virus that has emerged to infect people and is spreading worldwide. It’s spreading because we have no pre-existing immunity against the new virus.
We should point out that the immediate risk of being exposed to the virus is still low for most Americans. However, some people are more at risk than others. These include older adults and people with serious chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and lung disease.
How is it transmitted?
We do know it can be spread from person to person, most frequently among close contacts. However, it can also be transmitted from contaminated surfaces, although no such cases have been documented.
The virus can remain viable for hours and even days on a variety of different surfaces, which is why cleaning surfaces by disinfection and washing hands is best practice.
Are auto transport carriers at great risk of catching coronavirus?
People who work in the auto transport industry are at no greater risk of catching coronavirus than any other members of the general public, unless they fall into one of the high-risk categories mentioned above.
To put the risk into perspective, you’ve only got to look at recent figures published by the CDC with regards cases of influenza, another common virus. It’s estimated there will be 36-51 million flu illnesses with 22,000-55,000 flu deaths. Figures for coronavirus pale in comparison.
How can we prevent the transmission of coronavirus during the auto transport process?
There are things you can do as an employer to reduce the risk of catching the virus even further. These include:
- Encourage sick employees to stay home
- Send employees home if they arrive at work with the symptoms, or develop the symptoms during the day.
- Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for employees.
- Instruct employees to clean their hands, often with alcohol-based sanitizers.
- Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace.
- Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces.
- Provide disposable wipes.
It’s really a case of being aware and improving general hygiene in the workplace.
What if you have to pick up a vehicle from a coastal port that has been shipped from overseas?
While the risk may be low in the US, there are countries where the risk of contracting coronavirus is much higher, for example, China, Italy, Spain, South Korea and Iran. If you're contracted to pick-up a shipment that has been shipped from one of these countries, you should wear disposable gloves when touching any of the vehicle's surfaces and wash your hands thoroughly once the vehicle has been loaded.
How can drivers keep themselves safe when at work?
There are many ways you can protect yourself, with the most obvious way being to avoid exposure. The takes you should take to protect yourself are really basic rules of hygiene. For example:
- Clean your hands often: wash them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you have been in a public place or after blowing your nose, sneezing, or coughing
- Use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, if soap and water are not available.
- Don’t touch your nose, mouth, or eyes, with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Stay at home if you’re sick.
- Cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Throw used tissues in the trash.
- If you’re sick, wear a face mask when around other people.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
- Clean dirty surfaces.
The coronavirus is a hot topic at the moment. Yes, there is a potential for the disease to spread further but at the end of the day, it’s just another virus and provided you take certain precautions, the risk of contracting the virus is very small. If you do contract it, the chances are it’s not going to be fatal, unless you fall into one of the high-risk groups.
Rest assured, here at SGT Auto Transport we’ll be running as normal and aim to continue delivering our services as required. If you want to know more about any of our auto transport services phone (864) 546-5038 and speak with our shipping advisors. There’s also the option of using our Live Chat.