A perfect storm


The inevitable has happened

A previously unknown virus has jumped the species barrier from animal to human, and despite the public health community sounding the alarm for some time about just such a danger, the world has been caught off guard. Not only has COVID-19 demonstrated once again humankind’s vulnerability to disease, but speeding along the air routes of a globalized world it has spread mayhem across nations, corporate edifices, the courts and more.

How long can this continue? There is little knowing, but this is clear: there is nothing to be gained by quibbling about the provenance of the current virus, or attempting to evade the measures being put in place to rein it in. In time the virus will run out of steam and life will return to some degree of normality, but what happens in the interim?

This month’s Cover story explores how employers can minimize risks for employees and ensure business continuity during the time of the coronavirus. It also assesses the unique legal issues posed by the pandemic. For example, an employee who caught the virus on a business trip should be treated as if he or she had been injured at work. As such, the employer would be required to compensate the employee if confronted with such a situation.

As the economic situation deteriorates such directives may become difficult to implement, but will need to be if we are to emerge from this crisis with our humanity intact. The outbreak of COVID-19 is impacting human lives, businesses, deliveries and services. But once it is over, there will be abundant lessons for the global community, which it is hoped will help people, organizations and governments to better handle any future situation such as this.

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