COVID-19 pandemic updates
- Last Updated: Thursday, 09 April 2020 07:54
This Continuity Central resource section is being regularly updated with situational updates, news, resources, and business continuity information related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Read WHO updates
- Read the latest WHO sitrep
- WHO rolling updates on coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
- WHO COVID-19 situation dashboard
- Tableau COVIA-19 situational dashboard
WHO has published a guideline on food safety, ‘COVID-19 and Food Safety: Guidance for Food Businesses’. More details
BSI has announced that it is providing open access to the COVID-19 section of its Supply Chain Risk Exposure Evaluation Network (SCREEN) tool. SCREEN is a web-based, comprehensive global supply chain intelligence system available by subscription, which includes valuable information for companies to anticipate, quickly respond to, and avoid supply chain disruptions. To view the SCREEN COVID-19 intelligence, visit: screen.bsigroup.com/Covid19
UK government announces £20 million grant fund for ‘ambitious technologies to build UK resilience following coronavirus outbreak’: grants of up to £50,000 will be made available to technology and research-focussed businesses to develop new ways of working and help build resilience in industries such as delivery services, food manufacturing, retail and transport. More details
Successful MERS vaccine in mice may hold promise for COVID-19 vaccine: researchers at the University of Iowa and the University of Georgia have developed a vaccine that fully protects mice against a lethal dose of MERS, a close cousin of the SARS-CoV2 coronavirus that causes COVID-19. The vaccine uses a harmless virus to deliver a MERS coronavirus protein into cells to generate an immune response, and may hold promise for developing vaccines against other coronaviruses diseases, including COVID-19. More details
Link between air pollution and COVID-19 mortality in Italy could be possible: an environmental researcher from Aarhus University has studied whether there could be a link between the high mortality rate seen in northern Italy, and the level of air pollution in the same region. In an article entitled ‘Can Atmospheric pollution be considered as a co-factor in the extremely high level of SARS-CoV-2 lethality in Northern Italy?’, a probable correlation between air pollution and mortality in two of the worst affected regions in northern Italy: Lombardy and Emilia Romagna is demonstrated. More details
Business Forums International are running weekly webinars looking at COVID-19 issues for UK employers. The next webinar will take place on April 9th and will cover:
PAHO has launched a new searchable database that contains the latest guidance and research on the COVID-19 pandemic from the Americas and affected countries worldwide. More details
Beginning 2nd April, the UN Global Compact will broadcast a special series of live Academy sessions every week to provide information, insights and inspiration on how businesses around the world can respond to and recover from the COVID-19 crisis. This special Academy series will be available to everyone who wants to join. Each 60-minute session will feature a panel of leaders from the UN, Government and private sector. More details
Developing & Reviewing Your Organisational Pandemic Plan: Whether you created a pandemic plan over the past few weeks or whether you already had a strong plan in place, ClearView and Assurance have produced a white paper to assist you to validate your pandemic capabilities, plans, and strategies. This is a practical document which aims to capture pandemic planning lessons learned and present them in a way which will assist you to sense-check your own arrangements. Obtain the white paper.
Smart Africa, a commitment from African heads of state and government to accelerate sustainable socioeconomic development, has launched a continent-wide technology based coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic for Africa. The response is aimed at bringing together the 30 member states under the Smart Africa Alliance and the 40 private sector members of the Alliance to coordinate efforts to stem the pandemic in Africa. More details.
World-wide disasters such as the Covid-19 outbreak have profound and prolonged impacts. While some believe that the global system will bounce back quite quickly once the outbreak has passed – this has been the case with previous pandemics – others foretell of longer, embedded changes. Consider the Spanish flu (1918-20); this coincided with the end of the First World War and the two events killed in total around 100 million, mainly young men. Yet, it accelerated the introduction of women into the workforce – a lasting, positive legacy. Another, significant paradigm shift may happen with Covid-19. ResilienceFirst explores how the world might appear post-pandemic here (PDF).
WHO has released a scientific brief on the off-label use of medicines for COVID-19. A number of medicines have been suggested as potential investigational therapies, many of which are now being or will soon be studied in clinical trials, including the SOLIDARITY trial co-sponsored by WHO and participating countries. More details
WHO, together with national authorities, is monitoring the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on people’s mental health, and providing information and guidance to governments and the public. On 27 March, WHO European Region published an article on mental health and psychological resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic... find out more
According to data gathered and analyzed by Atlas VPN, the number of phishing websites spiked by 350 percent during March. This led to the number of registered phishing sites to rocket to over half a million in March 2020.
WHO’s Information Network for Epidemics (EPI-WIN) website - www.who.int/epi-win - was launched recently and gives people access to timely, accurate, and easy-to-understand advice and information from trusted sources on the COVID-19 pandemic, translating scientific information to actionable information. EPI-WIN’s two-way communication network addresses key information needs while rebutting misinformation and fighting ‘infodemics’, which spread misinformation, create confusion and distrust among people and hamper an effective response. The EPI-WIN website is aimed at a wide range of audiences including businesses.
US Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza has announced changes to help borrowers still paying back SBA loans from previous disasters. By making this change, deferments through December 31, 2020, will be automatic. Now, borrowers of disaster loans do not have to contact SBA to request deferment. Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on SBA’s assistance to small businesses.
The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision says that the spread of Covid-19 has reached a critical phase and is having an increasingly significant impact on economic activity. Banks and supervisors must remain vigilant in light of the evolving nature of Covid-19 to ensure that the global banking system remains financially and operationally resilient. The Committee is continuing to assess and address the banking and supervisory implications of Covid-19, and is actively coordinating with the Financial Stability Board and other standard setting bodies on cross-cutting financial system issues. In the immediate term, the Committee is suspending consultation on all policy initiatives and postponing all outstanding jurisdictional assessments planned in 2020 under its Regulatory Consistency Assessment Programme. In the coming days, the Committee will consider additional measures aimed at supporting the financial resilience of banks and the operational resilience of both the banking and supervisory community during these unprecedented times. More details
The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has suspended the majority of its planned policy and supervision initiatives in response to the impact of COVID-19. The decision is intended to allow APRA-regulated entities to dedicate time and resources to maintaining their operations and supporting customers, while also enabling APRA to intensify its focus on monitoring and responding to the impact of a rapidly changing environment on entities’ financial and operational capacity. More details
WHO has announced that a new protocol to investigate the extent of COVID-19 infection in the population, as determined by positive antibody tests in the general population has been developed. The protocol is titled the 'Population-based age-stratified seroepidemiological investigation protocol for COVID-19 virus infection'. The latest protocol is intended to provide key epidemiological and serologic characteristics of COVID-19 virus in the general population. Specifically, data from this protocol will provide critical information about the extent of infection (as measured by the presence of antibodies in study subjects) in the general population, age-specific infection cumulative incidence, and the fraction of people with asymptomatic or subclinical infection. More details .
Two new technical guidance documents have been published by WHO: Critical preparedness, readiness and response actions for COVID-19 and Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) Action Plan Guidance
|An analysis of publicly available data on infections from the new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, that causes the respiratory illness COVID-19 yielded an estimate of 5.1 days for the median disease incubation period, according to a new study led by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The analysis suggests that about 97.5 percent of people who develop symptoms of SARS-CoV-2 infection will do so within 11.5 days of exposure. The researchers estimated that for every 10,000 individuals quarantined for 14 days, only about 101 would develop symptoms after being released from quarantine. More details.|
Continuity Central news and resources
- COVID-19: riding the second wave of the pandemic
At some point governments across the world are going to have to start taking some very tricky decisions as to when to ease the COVID-19 lockdown. But when that happens will the virus stage a vicious comeback? Jim Preen looks ahead…
- Closing workplace facilities creates new risks says FM Global
As companies close offices, plants and warehouses to reduce COVID-19 spread, other risks are emerging at these now-idle facilities, warns FM Global.
- Enterprise risk managers are finding that COVID-19 is resulting in less engagement with the company board
A Gartner survey of more than 900 audit and risk leaders on March 27th 2020 has found that most of their focus is on assessing the impact of COVID-19 on organizational operations and controls, as well as revising and executing the company audit plan.
- International Labour Organization outlines catastrophic effect of COVID-19
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a catastrophic effect on working hours and earnings, globally. A new ILO report highlights some of the worst affected sectors and regions, and outlines policies to mitigate the crisis.
- How safe is using Zoom for video conferencing?
One of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is the rapid uptake in the use of video conferencing, especially the Zoom platform. Recently questions have been asked about how secure Zoom is. Here, Elliott Thompson gives his view on what the real risk of using Zoom is and offers tips to mitigate.
- BCI launches a survey to capture business pandemic planning and recovery lessons
The BCI has launched a survey which will inform a new report exploring current pandemic planning activities as well as organizational preparations for post-pandemic business operations.
- Academics warn that the COVID-19 pandemic is a symptom of systemic issues in human society
While the world is focused on fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design are warning that it is important not to lose sight of the causes of the pandemic. They suggest that COVID-19 is ‘more than just a virus, but rather a symptom emerging from something much deeper - a nonlinear dynamical system of coupled pathologies underlying a veneer of progress in an increasingly fragile, volatile, hyperconnected world.’
- SHRM surveys look at the impacts of COVID-19 lockdown on US small businesses
Half of America’s small businesses can’t afford to pay employees for a full month under the current economic lockdown meant to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- How fit for purpose are VPNs for enterprise remote access?
PortSys has highlighted security and capability gaps that it believes exist in the VPNs that many organizations around the world are now using for business continuity due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Keeping resilient while home working – useful tips and techniques
Dominic Irvine has spent 20 years working from home. Here he builds on this experience to offer advice for how to ensure that yourself and your team maintain business as usual while working at home.
- Six initiatives to help maintain employee performance and engagement during the COVID-19 pandemic
While organizations are focused on business continuity plans and strategies to maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to also focus on employee well-being. Organizations need to focus on employees’ emotions related to the pandemic to restore productivity and deliver on employee experience, according to Gartner.
- Survey finds that only 29 percent of companies globally expect to operate at full capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic
With employee work restrictions in place to combat the COVID-19 crisis, just 29 percent of companies can continue to be fully operational with employee work restrictions in place and 57 percent expect to be partially operational, according to the international ‘Rapid Ratings State of Supply Chain Survey’.
- The psychology of bulk buying…
Supermarket and some other supply chains have been heavily impacted by bulk buying during the COVID-19 pandemic. To assist organizations understand this phenomenon, Dr. Ali Fenwick, an expert in human behaviour at Nyenrode Business University, explains why people behave in this way and why it is a predictable reaction…
- NIST provides information resources for secure teleworking
As people around the world transition from an office environment to home working, maintaining cyber security is imperative. For organizations establishing telework security policies, remote access solutions, etc., NIST has developed a comprehensive telework resource guide that provides information on securing enterprise telework, remote access, and bring your own device (BYOD) solutions.
- Supply chain resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic: thoughts from Zurich North America
Today, businesses are learning how a global pandemic can put immense strain on supply chains. The spread of COVID-19 is not only impacting shipping lanes, ports and locations, but also the people inside manufacturing facilities who are making the products.
- ‘Organizations should follow a five-phase approach for resilient business continuity models during Coronavirus disruptions’ says Gartner
A five-phase strategic and systematic approach to strengthen the resilience of organizations’ current business models is key to business continuity during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Gartner, Inc.
- IABM collates COVID-19 related business continuity resources
IABM, the international trade association for Broadcast and Media technology suppliers, has produced a comprehensive ‘virtual repository’ to collate COVID-19 related business continuity resources from around the world.
- Warning issued to adopt a heightened state of cyber security when facilitating home working
CISA, the US Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, has issued an alert to encourage organizations to adopt a heightened state of cyber security when implementing teleworking in response to COVID-19.
- WHO declares COVID-19 pandemic: now is the time to validate your plan
As every business continuity manager will be aware, the World Health Organization has designated the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic. What should organizations do in response? The first action is to validate your pandemic plan says Geary W. Sikich…
- Preparing your pandemic response plans: a comprehensive checklist
Dr. Jim Kennedy provides a detailed checklist of items that organizations need to consider to sense-check existing pandemic plans, or to inform planning processes which may be underway.
- A quarter of companies are developing their first business continuity plan in response to COVID-19: study
COVID-19 has been a catalyst for many organizations to address business continuity failings; with just under a quarter (24 percent) of companies currently in the middle of drafting an initial business continuity plan, according to a study by global consultancy firm Mercer.
- COVID-19: preparing for business interruption and other claims
As the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) outbreak continues to spread, organizations are preparing for possible impacts on their operations. In this article, Paul McVey looks at what organizations should do to prepare for potential business interruption claims due to the presence of the virus on their premises, employee absenteeism, or supply chain disruptions.
- Business continuity planning and actions in relation to COVID-19
From 14th to 20th February 2020, Continuity Central conducted an online survey which aimed to capture information to help business continuity managers around the world understand what actions others in the profession are taking in response to or in preparation for COVID-19 infections.
- To slow a disease outbreak, focus on handwashing confirms new study
A new study estimates that improving the rates of handwashing by people passing through just 10 of the world's leading airports could significantly reduce the spread of many infectious diseases. And the greater the improvement in people's handwashing habits at airports, the more dramatic the effect on slowing the disease, the researchers found.
- Early spread of 2019-nCoV was far greater than reported say University researchers
Infectious disease researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and other institutions in Hong Kong, mainland China and France have concluded that there is a high probability that the 2019-nCoV coronavirus spread beyond Wuhan and other quarantined cities before Chinese officials were able to put a quarantine in place.
- Business continuity management advice relating to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) outbreak
In this resource page Continuity Central is collecting advice issued by business continuity consultancies around the world concerning actions that organizations can be taking in response to the 2019-nCoV outbreak.
- 2019-nCoV Coronavirus: assessing risk and planning initiatives
Geary Sikich looks at lessons learned from the 2006 avian flu pandemic scare, and provides pointers for activities that risk managers and business continuity managers could be considering currently.
- 100 years on from the 1918 flu pandemic: what lessons can be learned?
With flu season nearly upon us, a new study looks at the factors behind the extremely high mortality of the 1918 flu pandemic and how to prepare for future pandemics.
- The National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI) has published a ‘Retail Protection and Improvement Guide’ to help retailers manage business continuity during the COVID-19 emergency
- CDC Launches New Weekly COVID-19 Surveillance Report
- Social distancing and keeping business open by working safely: UK HSE guidance
- WHO releases guidelines to help countries maintain essential health services during the COVID-19 pandemic
- COVID-19 latest information and advice from the UK Health and Safety Executive
- DRII white paper: 'Not Your Typical COVID-19 White Paper'
- BCP and COVID-19 SIFMA information page
- Coronavirus: Legal Guidance for UK Employers
- COVID-19: Practical Guides for Businesses Facing the Outbreak - RumbergerKirk
- Guidelines launched for UAE Organisations in event of COVID-19 outbreak
- FSB: COVID-19: Advice and guidance for small businesses and the self-employed
- Coronavirus Guidelines for America (PDF)
- OSHA: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19
- UK Government Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidance for employees, employers and businesses: Information on healthcare advice for employers and support for businesses
- The Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC) has updated guidance identifying actions that financial institutions should take to minimize the potential adverse effects of a pandemic (PDF)
- Gartner Says CIOs Should Focus on Three Immediate Actions to Prepare for Coronavirus Disruptions
- UK Government Covid-19 Action Plan
- COVID-19: guidance for employers and businesses (UK Government)
- Guidance on Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Planning for Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19): the ACA Compliance Group
- Preparing for large-scale community transmission of COVID-19: guidance for countries and areas in the WHO Western Pacific Region
- COVID-19 Contingency Planning Guide for Facilities Managers
- ACAS guidance for UK employers on how to deal with employee issues
- Advice and guidance on reducing the risks of disruption from the COVID-19 virus to you and your business (Federation of Small Businesses)
- Business continuity challenges and considerations for the 2019 novel coronavirus – Reuters
- Guide on Business Continuity Planning for Wuhan Coronavirus... Enterprise Singapore
- Pandemic Resilience – A Continuity Perspective... BCI
- Emergency preparedness, resilience and response to a biological outbreak... Academic Paper
Recent external news items
- FBI anticipates rise in business email compromise schemes related to the COVID-19 pandemic
- Weekly Update: DHS Response to COVID-19
- Two-thirds of polled The Register readers say it's business as usual in the IT department
- Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has issued a nine-point business continuity circular to all bank and financial institutions (BFIs) outlining service measures that they have to embrace in the wake of the lockdown imposed by the government to combat the COVID-19 pandemic
- Survey reveals drastic impact of COVID-19 on UK PR industry
- Philippines Department of Energy orders industry players to submit business continuity plans
- Impact of COVID-19 on China's Economy and ICT Market: IDC
- MAS tells financial institutions to adopt safe distancing measures
- European Commission presents practical guidance to ensure continuous flow of goods across EU via green lanes
- Readout from the Vice President’s video teleconference with Governors on the Partnership to Prepare, Mitigate and Respond to COVID-19
- COVID-19: Council of the EU and European Council takes steps to ensure institutional continuity
- UK government: Emergency bill to strengthen coronavirus (COVID-19) response plans
- G7 Leaders’ Statement on COVID-19
- UK Government publishes updated COVID-19 industry guidance
- Gartner Says Supply Chain Leaders Should Focus on Three Key Impact Areas to Mitigate Disruption by the Coronavirus
- US: Proclamation on Declaring a National Emergency Concerning the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Outbreak
- No evidence that food is a source or transmission route: EFSA
- UK Local Government Secretary Robert Jenrick has launched a new taskforce bringing together senior experts across sectors to tackle the outbreak of coronavirus. The taskforce will assess Local Resilience Forum (LRF) plans and provide support and advice to ensure they are robust
- British business messaging app Guild has set up CREO (Coronavirus Response for Event Organisers) as a peer support group for anyone due to run an event in the next six months
- COVID-19 Business Sentiment & Resilience Barometer: Amidst the COVID-19 outbreak, 50% of APAC businesses are concerned about the future and 43% of APAC businesses are considering seeking out third-party support for business continuity planning, cost reduction and operational streamlining.
- Quarantine on cruise ship resulted in more infections: the opposite to what was intended
- Responding to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Guidance for Hong Kong Financial Institutions
- Breakthrough in coronavirus research results in new map to support vaccine design
- Guidance on the Rights, Roles and Responsibilities Of Health Workers, Including Key Considerations For Occupational Safety And Health
- WHO has developed a database to collect the latest scientific findings and knowledge on Coronavirus disease
Product releases and information
Everbridge has announced that the company has launched COVID-19 Shield, a new set of Coronavirus Protection Solutions designed to protect the safety of employees and customers, maintain business operations, safeguard supply chains, and reduce costs and liabilities stemming from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic. Due to the swift spread of the outbreak, Everbridge offers a Rapid Deployment package for governments, businesses, and healthcare entities to implement the COVID-19 Shield solutions in under 48 hours. COVID-19 Shield offers three new out-of-the-box solutions to help organizations:
- Know Your Risks through COVID-19 alerts correlated to an organization’s locations.
- Protect Your People to manage critical response plans and automate communications with impacted people, responders, leadership and other stakeholders.
- Protect Your Operations and Supply Chains by automatically correlating alerts to physical assets including offices and facilities, production plants, suppliers and supply chain routes, in addition to people
Groupdolists has made its pandemic response plan publicly available. The plan contains a best-practices list of pre-defined tasks and suggested steps any organization can follow whenever the threat of a disease outbreak arises. Click here to access the free Groupdolists Pandemic Response Plan.
Crises Control has created a series of pandemic response toolkits to allow its customers across the globe to prepare their own businesses to mitigate and respond to the inevitable disruptions that they will face over the next few months. These toolkits take the shape of a series of incident scenarios associated with a pandemic, including employee infection and quarantine, building closure, service interruption, working remotely and supply chain disruption. www.crises-control.com
Agility Recovery has developed a Coronavirus Preparedness Resource Kit which covers the immediate steps to take when preparing for a viral outbreak. More details here.
Crisis Solutions has put together a free pandemic planner which allows you to assess the impact that prolonged illness could have on your organization.The application allows those involved in business continuity and crisis management to run various models of disease mortality, clinical attack and hospitalisation rates to understand how this aﬀects your critical workforce. PandemicPlanner2020 can be downloaded at https://www.crisis-solutions.com/resources