The rapid spread of coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) is a public health challenge that has affected all of us globally. It has required governments, and particularly healthcare systems, to respond swiftly and in a coordinated way to ensure that they are properly mitigating and responding to the evolving situation to ensure the wellbeing of their citizens.
Covid-19 was declared a public health emergency of International Concern by the World Health Organisation on 30 January 2020. Speaking at a Covid-19 media briefing on 2 March 2020, the Director General of WHO emphasised that the virus is capable of community transmission but can be contained with the right measures.
This is above all a human and social crisis, necessitating some significant changes in the way everyone goes about their daily lives. As efforts to manage the spread radiate across the world, the impact to businesses and economies has become increasingly significant.
Our clients are assessing (as we are ourselves), on a continuous basis, how to address the threat posed by Covid-19 to their workforce, customers, suppliers and wider stakeholders. Financial markets are experiencing considerable turbulence. The situation has the potential to generate both a supply-side and a demand-side shock.
Every organisation will have individual and sectoral considerations relevant to their particular circumstances, and each organisation will likely approach this evolving situation through their business continuity plan.
However, these plans may not foresee a situation of this complexity, magnitude and duration.
The topics covered below offers some practical guidance around how organisations might approach the impact of Covid-19 from a governance and risk perspective, together with some answers to some of the legal questions which we have been receiving over the last few weeks.