• Safer Highways

Coronavirus advice for employers

The government has warned that up to a fifth of the workforce may be off sick during the peak of a coronavirus epidemic in the UK. Plans to contain Coronavirus if it spreads have been set out by the UK Government.

The UK is currently [9 March] in the first phase – “containment” – of the government’s four-part plan to tackle the spread of coronavirus. However, measures are expected to be ramped up to slow the spread of the virus and could involve “changes to society”.

Speaking to a committee of MPs on 5 March, Prof Whitty, the country’s Chief Medical Adviser ,said the country was now “mainly” in the delay phase of the government’s four-part plan to tackle the virus, but was still following aspects of the first phase. At time of writing, it is still being decided what measures will be taken in the delay phase – but the government has said they could include banning big events, closing schools and dissuading people from using public transport.

Prof Whitty said benefits of the delay phase included:

Pushing the peak of cases “further away from the winter pressures on the NHS” so that there was “more capacity to respond”;Buying time to allow the UK to improve its response or develop counter measures such as drugs, vaccines and diagnostics;There may be a seasonal element of the virus – so if the peak was delayed to spring or summer, the “natural rate”of transmission could be lower.

An emergency Cobra meeting is expected to consider whether the UK should officially move into the “delay” phase. However, the government’s clear message will be that everyone has a role to play in tackling the outbreak – as individuals, as employers and as communities.

According to the WHO’s latest Situation Report [8 March 2020], there have been:

105,586 confirmed cases globally;80,859 confirmed cases in China, with 3,100 deaths recorded;7,375 confirmed cases in Italy (the highest number of confirmed cases outside China), with 366 deaths recorded;273 confirmed cases in the UK. There have been three deaths recorded.

WHO is urging all countries to prepare for the potential arrival of COVID-19 by readying emergency response systems; increasing capacity to detect and care for patients; ensuring hospitals have the space, supplies and necessary personnel; and developing life-saving medical interventions.

WHO warns that supplies of PPE is “rapidly depleting”

In his daily briefing in Geneva on March 4 WHO Director-General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that supplies of PPE, such as the gloves, medical masks, respirators, goggles, face shields, gowns, and aprons used by health workers fighting coronavirus are “rapidly depleting” and warned against “hoarding and misuse”.

“We are concerned that countries’ abilities to respond are being compromised by the severe and increasing disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment … caused by rising demand, hoarding and misuse,” he said.

Healthcare workers rely on personal protective equipment to protect themselves and their patients from being infected and infecting others. But, says WHO, shortages are leaving doctors, nurses and other frontline workers dangerously ill-equipped. “Without secure supply chains, the risk to healthcare workers around the world is real. Industry and governments must act quickly to boost supply, ease export restrictions and put measures in place to stop speculation and hoarding. We can’t stop COVID-19 without protecting health workers first,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, prices have surged. Surgical masks have seen a sixfold increase, N95 respirators have trebled and gowns have doubled.

Supplies can take months to deliver and market manipulation is widespread, with stocks frequently sold to the highest bidder.

WHO has so far shipped nearly half a million sets of personal protective equipment to 47 countries,* but supplies are rapidly depleting.

Based on WHO modelling, an estimated 89 million medical masks are required for the COVID-19 response each month. For examination gloves, that figure goes up to 76 million, while international demand for goggles stands at 1.6 million per month.

Recent WHO guidance calls for the rational and appropriate use of PPE in healthcare settings, and the effective management of supply chains.

WHO is working with governments, industry and the Pandemic Supply Chain Network to boost production and secure allocations for critically affected and at-risk countries.

To meet rising global demand, WHO estimates that industry must increase manufacturing by 40%.

Governments should develop incentives for industry to ramp up production, says WHO. This includes easing restrictions on the export and distribution of personal protective equipment and other medical supplies.

Every day, WHO is providing guidance, supporting secure supply chains, and delivering critical equipment to countries in need.

Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19

The WHO has set out guidance on how businesses and employers can help to stop the spread of the new coronavirus disease.

How does coronavirus spread?

When someone who has COVID-19 coughs or exhales they release droplets of infected fluid. Most of these droplets fall on nearby surfaces and objects – such as desks, tables or telephones.

People could catch COVID-19 by touching contaminated surfaces or objects – and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth. If they are standing within one meter of a person with COVID-19 they can catch it by breathing in droplets coughed out or exhaled bythem. In other words, COVID-19 spreads in a similar way to flu.

Preventing coronavirus in the workplace

The guidance stresses that employers should start taking these the following measures now, even if COVID-19 has not arrived in the communities where they operate:

Make sure your workplaces are clean and hygienic.

Surfaces (eg desks and tables) and objects (eg telephones, keyboards) need to be wiped with disinfectant regularly.Promote regular and thorough hand-washing by employees, contractors and customers.

Put sanitizing hand rub dispensers in prominent places around the workplace. Make sure these dispensers are regularly refilled;Display posters promoting hand-washing;Offer guidance from occupational health and safety officers;Make sure that staff, contractors and customers have access to places where they can wash their hands with soap and water.Promote good respiratory hygiene in the workplace.

Display posters promoting respiratory hygiene. Combine this with other communication measures;Ensure tissues are available at your workplaces, for those who develop a runny nose or cough at work, along with closed bins for hygienically disposing of them;Advise employees and contractors to consult national travel advice before going on business trips.Brief your employees, contractors and customers that if COVID-19 starts spreading in your community anyone with even a mild cough or low-grade fever (37.3 C or more) needs to stay at home.

Make clear to employees that they will be able to count this time off as sick leave.

The guidance goes on to advise on procedures for employees who travel (before travelling, during and after), and sets out advice for getting a business ready should COVID-19 arrive in the workplace. It is stressed that simple precautions and planning can make a big difference. Action now will help protect your employees and your business.

Coronavirus action plan. A guide to what you can expect across the UK

Last month, the government declared coronavirus a “serious and imminent threat” to public health, as it announced new powers to fight its spread. Under the measures, people can now be forcibly quarantined and will not be free to leave.On 3 March, the government revealed its coronavirus action plan. It believes that in a “stretching scenario”, up to a fifth of the workforce may be off sick during the peak of an epidemic.Some points from the government’s briefing include the following:A possible delay strategy could be used to move the peak of the outbreak to warmer months so that it does not overlap with normal flu and allows more time for research;There are plans ready for a range of outcomes, from mild pandemic with low impact on services (like Swine Flu in 2009) through to severe and prolonged pandemic;There are plans for the Ministry of Defence to provide support to Civilian Authorities if requested;If the disease becomes established in the UK, further measures to be considered include school closures, home working and reducing large-scale gatherings;Police would concentrate on serious crimes and maintaining public order if a lot of officers are on sick leave, in the case of the disease being fully established;There could well be an increase in deaths, particularly amongst the vulnerable and elderly;Concessions may be made by tax officials if businesses struggle to pay tax bills;Some non-urgent care in the NHS may be delayed to focus on treating coronavirus patients;Recently retired doctors and nurses may be called back to work.While the vast majority of patients will have a mild to moderate illness, similar to seasonal flu, a minority will require hospital care and a small proportion could die, the plans warn.

The policy paper, issued by the Department of Health and Social Care, details what the health and social care system across the UK has done to tackle the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, and what it plans to do next.

It is based on the government’s experience dealing with other infectious diseases and its influenza pandemic preparedness work. It is stressed that the exact response to coronavirus (COVID-19) will be tailored to the nature, scale and location of the threat in the UK, as understanding of this develops.

This document sets out:

What is known about the virus and the disease it causes;How government have planned for an infectious disease outbreak such as the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak;The actions taken so far in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak;What government are planning to do next, depending on the course the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak takes;The role the public can play in supporting this response, now and in the future.

The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which began in December 2019, presents a significant challenge for the entire world, says the Department. The UK government and devolved administrations, including the health and social care system, have planned extensively over the years for an event like this, it says. Therefore, it is stressed that the UK is well prepared to respond in a way that offers substantial protection to the public.

The initial response to the outbreak has the fundamental objectives to deploy phased actions to Contain, Delay, and Mitigate any outbreak, using Research to inform policy development. The different phases, types and scale of actions depends upon how the course of the outbreak unfolds over time, says the plan. The overall phases of the plan to respond to COVID-19 are as follows:

Contain: detect early cases, follow up close contacts, and prevent the disease taking hold in this country for as long as is reasonably possible;Delay: slow the spread in this country, if it does take hold, lowering the peak impact and pushing it away from the winter season;Research: better understand the virus and the actions that will lessen its effect on the UK population; innovate responses including diagnostics, drugs and vaccines; use the evidence to inform the development of the most effective models of care;Mitigate: provide the best care possible for people who become ill, support hospitals to maintain essential services and ensure ongoing support for people ill in the community to minimise the overall impact of the disease on society, public services and on the economy.

Ultimately, the response to COVID-19 is guided by the international situation, the advice of organisations such as the WHO, surveillance, data modelling based on the best available evidence and the recommendations of expert bodies.

System wide response plans for pandemic influenza, focused on the continuity of public and critical services and the stability of the economy, have been adapted for COVID-19, based on the best available scientific evidence and advice. Click here for the latest information on the current situation.

It is stressed that the nature and scale of the response depends on the course of the disease, which cannot be predicted accurately at this point. As understanding of the disease increases and its impact becomes clearer, the government will issue further detailed advice about what to expect if/when further measures become necessary.

Delay phase

In addition to actions taken as part of the Contain phase, the plan emphasises the actions that people can be taking themselves to help delay the peak of the infection; especially washing hands more; and the catch it, bin it, kill it strategy for those with coughs and sneezes.

Delaying the spread of the disease requires everyone to follow the advice set out in this document. The benefits of doing so are that if the peak of the outbreak can be delayed until the warmer months, the risk of overlapping with seasonal flu and other challenges (societal or medical) that the colder months bring can be significantly reduced.

The role the public can play

The plan stresses that everyone can help support the UK’s response by:

Following public health authorities’ advice, for example on hand washing;Reducing the impact and spread of misinformation by relying on information from trusted sources;Checking and following the latest FCO travel advice when travelling and planning to travel;Ensuring you and your family’s vaccinations are up to date as this will help reduce the pressure on the NHS/HSCNI through reducing vaccine-preventable diseases;Checking on elderly or vulnerable family, friends and neighbours using NHS 111 (or NHS 24 in Scotland or NHS Direct Wales) (including online, where possible), pharmacies and GPs responsibly, and go to the hospital only when you really need to;Being understanding of the pressures the health and social care systems may be under, and receptive to changes that may be needed to the provision of care to you and your family;Accepting that the advice for managing COVID-19 for most people will be selfisolation at home and simple over the counter medicines;Checking for new advice as the situation changes.

What happens next?

In the event of the outbreak worsening, or a severe prolonged pandemic, the response will escalate, and the focus will move from Contain to Delay, through to Mitigate. During this phase the pressures on services and wider society may start to become significant and clearly noticeable, says the plan.

It is noted that if the disease becomes established in the UK, we will need to consider further measures to reduce the rate and extent of its spread. Based on experience with previous outbreaks, it may be that widespread exposure in the UK is inevitable; but slowing it down would still nonetheless be beneficial.

The plan notes that:

Government will increase publicity about the need for good hygiene measures (hand washing, and catch it, bin it, kill it) and further promote the need for people with symptoms to stay at home for the full duration of their illnessOther actions taken to achieve a Delay in the spread of the disease will be taken. This could include population distancing strategies such as school closures, encouraging greater home working, reducing the number of large scale gatheringsConsideration will be given to measures to protect vulnerable individuals with underlying illnesses and thus at greater risk of becoming seriously affected by the disease.

As and when more is discovered about the disease and what, if any, impact its course has on the UK, the government will provide further updates on how our plans are being adapted to respond to specific, changing circumstances.

Coronavirus: Advice for businesses

The UK Government is advising businesses to build their own resilience by reviewing their business continuity plans and following the advice for employers available here.

Businesses should also ensure that they keep up to date with the situation as it changes at.

Click here to read the government’s plan in full.

The Budget Chancellor Rishi Sunak has ordered Treasury officials to work up plans to support the public health response, businesses and the economy in his Budget on 11 March.Bank of England governor Mark Carney said policymakers stand ready to help businesses and households through an economic shock caused by the virus that could “prove large but will ultimately be temporary.”A public information campaign will be launched later this week outlining how the public can help to limit the spread of the virus, including by washing hands regularly with soap and water.

Emergency support

The TUC is calling on the government to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak by providing emergency support for the millions of UK workers who are currently missing out on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).

In a letter to Matt Hancock and Thérèse Coffey, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady warns that inadequate provision of sick pay could stop people taking up public health advice, since many workers will struggle to meet basic living costs if they can’t attend work for a prolonged period.

As a result, some may feel they have no choice but to go to work while ill, or against government advice.

Currently, nearly 2 million of the lowest-paid workers don’t earn enough to qualify for statutory sick pay. According to TUC analysis this includes:

34% of workers on zero-hours contracts;1 in 10 women in work;More than a fifth (22%) of workers aged 16-24;More than a quarter (26%) of workers aged 65 and over, identified by government as one of the groups most vulnerable to the virus.

COVID-19 – What does your organisation need to do to stay on the right side of the criminal law?

Your organisation is now making preparations for the coming COVID-19 pandemic and you are deluged with specific concerns, information and action plans that need to be developed. Amongst the many questions being asked by the Board, should be a cut through question: ‘What are our health and safety criminal law obligations in dealing with the Coronavirus, what do we have to do and how can we protect ourselves from blame if we get it wrong?’

Read Lawyer Simon Joyston-Bechal’s take on it here.

How is the UK planning for a coronavirus outbreak?

What is Coronavirus?

Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a new respiratory illness that has not previously been seen in humans.

Where do coronaviruses come from?

Coronaviruses are viruses that circulate among animals but some of them are also known to affect humans. After they have infected humans, they can eventually be transmitted to humans.

What is the mode of transmission? How (easily) does it spread?

Because it’s a new illness, it is not known exactly how coronavirus spreads from person to person, but similar viruses spread by respiratory droplets that people sneeze, cough, or exhale. While animals are the source of the virus, this virus is now spreading from one person to another (human-to-human transmission). At time of writing, there is currently not enough epidemiological information to determine how easily and sustainably this virus is spreading between people.

What are the symptoms?

The main signs of infection are fever (high temperature) and a cough as well as shortness of breath and breathing difficulties.

How to protect yourself

The NHS advise the following measures to help stop germs like coronavirus spreading:

Always carry tissues with you and use them to catch your cough or sneeze. Then bin the tissue, and wash your hands, or use a sanitiser gel;Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after using public transport. Use a sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available;Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands;Avoid close contact with people who are unwell;If you have arrived back from China or specified areas, follow the NHS advice for returning travellers.

Supporting Workers

While the  risk of catching it within the workplace is low, IOSH stress that employers have a role to play in preventing the spread of the disease by taking sensible action to prevent the spread of COVID-19 such as ensuring that workers have access to appropriate hygiene facilities such hot water, soap and bins to get rid of used tissues.

Workers are advised to maintain good hygiene standards around the workplace by following the latest advice from the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) website which includes the following basic protective measures:

Wash your hands frequently with alcohol-based hand wash or wash with soap and water;Maintain social distancing- maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet distance) between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing;Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose;Practice respiratory hygiene;Atay informed and follow the advice given by health care providers.

Government guidance for employers and businesses

This guidance, issued by Public Health England and Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, is for employers and businesses in providing advice about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

It aims to assist employers and businesses in providing advice to their staff on:

The novel coronavirus, COVID-19How to help prevent spread of all respiratory infections including COVID-19What to do if someone suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19 has been in business settingsWhat advice to give to individuals who have travelled to specific areasActions to take if staff come into contact with someone who is self-isolating or is a possible or confirmed case of COVID-19.

The guidance covers the following:

Information about the virus;Signs and symptoms of COVID-19;How COVID-19 is spread;Preventing spread of infection;How long the virus can survive;Huidance on facemasks;What to do if an employee or a member of the public becomes unwell and believe they have been exposed to COVID-19;Returning from travel overseas to affected areas;What to do if a member of staff or the public with suspected COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace;What to do if a member of staff or the public with confirmed COVID-19 has recently been in your workplace;When individuals in the workplace have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19;Certifying absence from work;Advice for staff returning from travel anywhere else in the world within the last 14 days;Handling post, packages or food from affected areas;Cleaning offices and public spaces where there are suspected or confirmed cases of COVID-19;Rubbish disposal, including tissues.

CIPD Advice

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) suggest the following advice for organisations:

Follow public health agency advice on efficient ways to contain the virus;Keep up to date with government advice and adapt business plans to reflect changes;Actively communicate these plans to staff, customers and suppliers;Look at options for people to work remotely to prevent the spread of infection;For customer facing organisations consider using customer self-serve options such as telephone and online services to minimise face to face interaction;Review policies and procedures on health reporting, office and personal hygiene protective equipment, social distancing and working hours;Consider providing additional training to those working in critical areas, so others have the skills to fill in for absent colleges.

It is also noted that organisations should bear in mind that people will be worried about the situation; employers not only have a duty of care to take reasonable steps to ensure health and safety, but also the well-being of employees. Offering enhanced support to people more vulnerable to illness due to age and/or any underlying health conditions is suggested.

Acas Advice for Employers

Workplace experts Acas have also issued advice for employers on dealing with the coronavirus outbreak. It includes guidance on how to handle employees who have the virus and those who do not want to come into work because they are worried about catching it.

Government coronavirus Travel Advice

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is currently advising against all travel to Hubei Province, and against all but essential travel tothe rest of mainland China. If you’re in China and able to leave, you should do so.

The FCO is also advising:

Against all travel to the cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan in South Korea;Against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in the Lombardy region and 1 in the Veneto region of Italy.

However, the FCO is not advising against travel to any other country/territory as a result of coronavirus risks. FCO travel advice remains under constant review to ensure it reflects our latest assessment of risks to British people. ABTA advice for customers who are planning to travel to destinations with reported cases of coronavirus.

Returning travellers

The Government advice is to stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days, even if you do not have symptoms:

Iran;Hubei province in China;Lockdown areas in northern Italy;Special care zones in South Korea.Stay indoors and avoid contact with other people if you’ve travelled to the UK from the following places in the last 14 days and have a cough, high temperature or shortness of breath, even if your symptoms are mild:Mainland China outside of Hubei province;Italy outside of the lockdown areas;South Korea outside of the special care zones;Cambodia;Hong Kong; Japan; Laos; Macau; Malaysia; Myanmar; Singapore; Taiwan; Thailand; Vietnam.If you’ve been to one of these places in the last 14 days, find out what to do using the NHS 111 online coronavirus service.111 coronavirus service.The NHS advice is do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. Call 111 if you need to speak to someone.Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland:Scotland: call your GP surgery or call 111 if your surgery is not open;Wales: call 111;Northern Ireland: call 111.The Government has updated its advice, stating that people who have visited any part of Italy – and not just the northern regions – should self-isolate if they have any symptoms, even mild.Lockdown areas in northern Italy are:Lombardy region (which includes the cities of Milan, Bergamo, Como) and the provinces of Modena, Parma, Piacenza, Reggio Emilia and Rimini (all in Emilia Romagna); Pesaro e Urbino (in Marche); Alessandria, Asti, Novara, Verbano-Cusio-Ossola and Vercelli (all in Piemonte); Padova. Treviso and Venice (in Veneto).Self-isolating: What this means in practice

This means staying at home for 14 days and not going to work, school or public areas.

Try to avoid having visitors to your home; however, it is OK for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

These steps are recommended to limit the potential spread of infection.

What does that mean for your your rights when it comes to work? Employment lawyer Rubel Bashir, from Slater and Gordon, told Sky News that both employers and employees in the UK have a duty of care and “discretion is needed” with such an unusual situation as a coronavirusoutbreak.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock told the BBC that coronavirus poses a “significant challenge” to the UK.

“It will be a significant challenge for the NHS, for social care, for schools, for many businesses. And the message today is very clear. It’s that right now we do not need to do many of the heavy things that we’re talking about in the plan but we’re also setting out this plan as transparently as we possibly can so people know the sorts of things that we might have to do in the future.”

He also addressed concerns that people who self-isolate might not be paid by their employers.

“If you self-isolate for medical reasons in order to keep others safe then that counts as being sick for sick pay purposes. So we have a robust sick pay system in this country, based in law. Of course, we keep all of these things under review.”

Pub chain JD Wetherspoon has said that the virus was being treated like any other illness, meaning that standard company sick pay rules apply. The firm is thought to be one of the first major employers to explicitly outline its policy, although it has received some criticism from wage campaigners on social media.

Protecting travelling workers

IOSH has issued some advice covering key actions that organisations can take to manage traveller health, safety and wellbeing: to effectively manage travel risk, organisations must ensure they have proportionate and robust policies, procedures and controls in place. Communicate them to all relevant parts of the organisation, providing information, instruction and training as appropriateconsider whether the travel is necessary: can the same result be achieved with video conferencing, for example, sparing the organisation and traveller the risk, time, cost and environmental impact? Situations such as the coronavirus outbreak in China as well as geopolitical conflicts, terrorism and natural disasters can change rapidly, potentially leaving travellers stranded or quarantined. It is therefore important to make ‘fly/no fly’ decisions based on best available guidance such as government travel adviceif travel is deemed necessary then organisations need to effectively but proportionately manage the risk, with controls identified and implemented that reflect the nature and severity of the risk. Such controls should be identified through a travel risk assessment incorporating not only the travel, accommodation and work itself but also the traveller’s physical and mental capabilities. The travellers themselves should be involved in this processorganisations must always know where their workers are and where they are going. Some travel management systems provide tracking and alert functions, and there are also products utilising GPS in either discrete equipment or smartphone apps which can provide live location trackingif travelling workers become involved in an incident or emergency, organisations need to have a means by which to provide support for them. Considering issues such as number of travellers, international time differences and weekend travel it is potentially cost and resource-effective to implement a travel assistance scheme such as those provided by business insurers or commercial organisations. Most schemes and business travel insurance packages offer a 24/7 helpline which triggers support services for the traveller, providing assistance with medical treatment and repatriation due to injuries and illness as well as helping with lost documents, stolen money and other common travel-related problemsorganisations should also provide relevant information, instruction and training to travellers, the nature and extent of which should be identified during the risk assessment processorganisations should remember their travellers’ wellbeing. According to a white paper by International SOS, frequent international travel has been shown to have negative effects on both physical and mental health, with situations such as a disease outbreak providing further sources of concern.

Legislation: COVID-19 listed as a notifiable disease

The Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 have been put in place to reduce the risk of further human-to-human transmission in this country by keeping individuals in isolation where public health professionals believe there is a reasonable risk an individual may have the virus.

At 6.15pm on 5 March 2020, a statutory instrument was made into law that adds COVID-19 to the list of notifiable diseases and SARS-COV-2 to the list of notifiable causative agents.

This change was made by adding them to the Health Protection (Notification) Regulations 2010. The change in law requires GPs to report all cases of COVID-19 to Public Health England. Other regions of the UK have already made the change.

Public Health England has updated its guidance to reflect the change. The guidance sets out the legal duties of laboratories and medical practitioners.

Business insurance

It has also been reported that registering COVID-19 as a notifiable disease will help businesses in making insurance claims. A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) stated: “Commercial insurance policies provide cover against a wide range of risks, that can be tailored to the needs of individual businesses, including extensions to cover. Businesses who are concerned about this should check the scope of their cover, and speak to their insurance adviser or broker.

“It may be possible to buy consequential business interruption cover for notifiable diseases as an extensionto a business insurance policy, subject to any policy terms and conditions. Standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks, not those that are very unlikely, such as the effects of COVID-19.”

The ABI added that, under Solvency II, all UK insurers are capitalised to withstand severe events like a pandemic, which the current outbreak still technically isn’t.

Further information

Check the Barbour Service for latest documents.UK: advice on travel to China with details on internal travel restrictions, including provinces with the most restrictions.Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice.Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England: Coronavirus (COVID-19): latest information and advice.Coronavirus (COVID-19): Common questions, NHS.WHO has published updated recommendations (29 February) for international traffic in relation to COVID-19 outbreak.WHO Situation Reports for the latest details on the outbreak.WHO: Getting your workplace ready for COVID-19.UK Novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) guidance for health professionals.IOSH Report Managing the safety, health and security of mobile workers.Latest global figures: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE.

The World Health Organization also has a wealth of information available; in particular ‘coronavirus myth busters’ which is a useful page of information, addressing common concerns about the virus outbreak.

Originally published on: https://www.shponline.co.uk/asia/coronavirus-advice-for-employers/