China has been the epicentre of COVID-19, and the Chinese business community has been much impacted. Currently, business is seeking to resume to normal levels which is measured by the business resumption rate. According to a recent article by Deloitte, the resumption rate in China, “is likely to rise from around 30 percent to 50 percent by early March. Of course, this number varies by sector and region”. The good news is “Zhejiang, one of the most economically developed provinces, is seeing a resumption rate of 90 percent… The China Association of Automobile Manufacturers (CAAM) reports a business resumption rate of nearly 75 percent in the auto industry.”
However long term impacts are expected, but just how big these impacts will be, still remains to be seen. The American Chamber of Commerce (Beijing), released a survey with almost half of the respondents expecting 2020 China revenues to decrease if the resumptive rates are not at normal levels before April 30, and almost 20 percent of respondents say 2020 revenues will decline over 50 percent if the epidemic continues through August 30.
According to Statista, the OECD has slashed its growth forecast for the world economy as the virus continues to spread outside of China. Experts expect the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak to resultin a 0.5 percentage point downward revision of its forecast for global GDP growth in 2020.
While travellers must take extra precautions in where there visit and in maintaining low social contact, they also must now be aware of the consequences around changing flights should they decide to change their travel plans. Manulife and TuGo have announced that they will no longer cover new customers who cancel their trips due to the COVID-19 spread, as this is now a “known” risk and cancellation coverage is for unexpected issues, and it is expected that other insurance agencies will follow suit.
Alberta public health officials are recommending the following actions as a precaution for employers:
If employees have visited a Grand Princess Cruise, Iran or China’s Hubei province in the last 14 days, it is recommended they isolate themselves until two weeks have passed since that visit. This is recommended even if they are feeling well.
If employees have travelled to mainland China, or Hong Kong, Japan, Singapore, South Korea or Italy in the last 14 days and they are feeling well, self-isolation is not recommended at this time, however they are advised to call Health Link 811 if they have symptoms such as cough or fever.
If employees have travelled to anywhere outside Canada and were in contact with someone who was suspected or confirmed to have the novel coronavirus or if they were in a health-care facility, they are advised to call Health Link 811, even if they are feeling well, to discuss additional precautions.
If an employee does not meet the exposure criteria above, they do not need to stay away from work, and do not need any testing or a physician’s note to attend work.
In a recent statement from Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw recommends that “If any Albertan has questions or health concerns, I ask them to call Health Link 811 for follow-up. The risk to Albertans is still low and we are ready. Our top priority is protecting the health and well-being of Albertans.”