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As the Coronavirus outbreak escalates, Sussex Chamber of Commerce has started to receive enquiries from businesses asking what steps they should be taking to mitigate the potential impacts.
Ana Christie, Chief Executive of Sussex Chamber of Commerce, said: “The outbreak is already affecting businesses that trade overseas.
“With some factories in China on extended shutdown, we anticipate interruptions to shipments of goods. Exporters may find that demand from Chinese consumers weakens.
"Interruptions are now also being seen in other parts of the world and in Europe, not just China.
“We’re also aware of tourism businesses in Sussex that are suffering because visitors aren’t coming.
“Our advice to businesses is strikingly similar to the advice we issued last year for coping with a potential no-deal Brexit.
“Do a risk assessment. Look at your supply chain, identify vulnerabilities if supplies are interrupted and make contingency plans.
“You also need to consider cash flow if there’s a risk that your business model will be disrupted. It’s better to discuss these issues with your bank now and make provision if you’re going to need an extended overdraft, for example.”
Ana added: “We are starting to see Coronavirus cases in the UK. If there were to be a major outbreak here, businesses would need to act quickly.”
“Below, we outline the advice and best practice from the Government, NHS, and other orgnanisations.”
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is advising against all travel to Hubei Province, where the outbreak started, and all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. It also advises British nationals in China to leave. More here.
Travel interruptions are now being seen in other parts of the world.
The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development has produced a fact sheet, which sets out how employers should respond to the threat from Coronavirus. To download it, click here.
The official guidance from the Department of Health and Social Care, and Public Health England, is here and is being updated daily. This covers the situation in the UK, provides information about the virus and outlines the action the Government is taking to prevent its spread.
The Department for Transport and Public Health England have produced specific guidance for the transport sector here.
The NHS has a concise guide to Coronavirus setting out how it is spread, how to avoid catching it, symptoms, treatment and what to do if you think you or any of your employees might be infected. Details here.
The World Health Organisation has more detailed information including videos on best practice and posters to download to inform your workforce. There’s also a useful myth-buster section and advice on when face masks are appropriate. Click here.
Finally, Public Health England has two useful blogs. The first here addresses frequently asked questions around Coronavirus. The second blog here looks at how it uses contact tracing to limit the spread of the virus in the UK.