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Advice for Businesses in Dealing with the Expanding Coronavirus Events

A Global Perspective for the International Employer

March 13, 2020

By Suzanne Horne, Stephane Henry, Alexandre Ruiz, Michael Downey, and local counsel in China, South Korea, Thailand, India, Australia, Brazil, and Italy

In the last 24 hours, we have seen three significant new developments for employers throughout the world:

  • First, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) has declared COVID-19 a pandemic, a disease that is spreading in multiple countries around the world at the same time rather than any indication of the aggressive nature of the disease itself. The impact of this declaration is that governments are now allowed to trigger preparedness plans and take emergency procedures to protect the public, such as travel restrictions;

  • Second, effective March 13, 2020, the Indian government has suspended visas for visitors from all countries—regardless of their nationality or travel history—until April 15, 2020. Indian citizens returning home will be granted entry but will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period; and

  • Third, the U.S. Government has announced a 30-day travel ban from 26 European countries for foreign nationals.

As we all continue to monitor these developments, we are seeing the spread of COVID-19 impacting employers in certain regions and jurisdictions at different rates. At this point, we know Asia, Italy and Iran are those most badly affected, but the speed of the contagion means that it is inevitable that others will follow. Employers are taking action now to devise their global strategies to protect their businesses and their workforce. Local laws vary, but there are common themes, challenges, and issues. Global employers are seeking to promote and protect the health, safety, and well-being of their workforce while navigating the myriad of applicable employment law, health, safety, and privacy legislation in local jurisdictions.

We have asked our colleagues and local counsel to provide their insights and commentary on a jurisdiction-by-jurisdiction basis. From this, we have identified the key points from a global perspective to assist employers to devise a coordinated and coherent COVID-19 policy for their workforce outside the U.S. After all, local realities impact global strategies.

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