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Home Industry News Swine flu latest: Firms told to ignore cry wolf effect

Swine flu latest: Firms told to ignore cry wolf effect

7th September 2009

Initial hysteria over swine flu has led most UK businesses to be unprepared for a second wave of the virus, it has been claimed.

Despite official data showing that the threat of the virus is receding, business leaders are being urged to develop contingency plans for this autumn.

According to new research from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Business Continuity Institute, firms should be prepared for staff absence rates of up to 50 per cent for two to four weeks this autumn and winter.

Ben Willmott, CIPD senior public policy adviser, said there was a “real danger” of managers avoiding the threat of swine flu.

“The media and public hysteria sparked by the initial stage of the pandemic has created a ‘cry wolf’ effect where the temptation for business leaders is to ask what all the fuss was about,” he said.

Government health officials initially warned of the danger of a second wave of the H1N1 virus in autumn.

However, the Health Protection Agency has now revised its worst-case scenario for the winter flu season, with a maximum of 19,000 deaths forecast from swine flu under the assumption that one in three people are infected.

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