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COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Alert Bulletin

Bulletin 8 - Thursday 23rd April, 2020


The following update is designed to provide you with important information regarding the current COVID-19 pandemic. Information is sourced from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and Australian Government information sources. Further updates will be issued as new information becomes available.

Current Situation

Statistics Australia New Zealand
New infection rate <0.5% <0.5%
Case fatality rate 1.1% 0.9%
Recovery rate 65% 72%
Cases acquired from overseas 64% 39%
Cases acquired from contact with a confirmed case 25% 55%
Cases acquired locally with no contact identified 10% 4%
Tests that are returning a positive result 1.5% 1.5%

Australia and New Zealand have clearly achieved success with slowing the rate of new COVID-19 transmissions over the past two weeks. As a consequence, Governments from both countries are now able to consider a gradual relaxation of some social distancing restrictions. Important points to note:

  • New Zealand’s decision to move to level 3 restrictions will largely bring them into line with restrictions currently operating in Australia. The most notable change will be the ability of many non-essential businesses to resume operations.
  • Both State and Federal Governments in Australia have proposed 11 May as a milestone date to start easing some restrictions. This is likley to involve an increase in the number of people that can associate together, allowing some businesses to reopen, relaxing visitation rules at aged care homes and the resumption of elective surgery.
  • It is not anticipated that Governments will allow higher risk businesses, particularly in the hospitality and tourism sectors, to resume trade until early July, nor will mass gatherings be allowed for the foreseeable future.
  • Remote working for all other businesses is likely to remain as the preferred operating model for an extended period.

Despite talk of restrictions being eased, it is highly likley that strict social distancing rules will remain in place until more effective treatments are found for seriously ill patients and/or a vaccine becomes available. Organisations should expect to be operating in a highly challenging social and economic environment for up to 12 months.

The four phases of COVID-19

Events have moved extremely fast over the past four weeks as the pandemic situation escalated globally. We have now clearly moved from the RESPONSE phase into the MANAGEMENT phase of COVID-19.

This requires organisations to rapidly adapt to a ‘new normal’ so they can stabilise the way they operate and provide predictable outcomes to employees, customers and other stakeholders; and then prepare for a phased recovery. Developing a COVID-19 Management Plan will be the catalyst for a resilient organisation in the current environment.

four phases of COVID-19

The following infographic provides further detail on each phase, describing key issues organisations are tackling and important actions that should be considered by leadership during the life of this pandemic.

Phases of the COVID-19 pandemic

Insurance Renewals

The insurance landscape continues to be a challenging environment during COVID-19 with more ‘hardening’ of premiums across many lines including Industrial Special Risk and liability policies including Directors and Officers liability. With April to June being a major quarter for insurance renewals, we recommend that evidence of robust Crisis, Pandemic Management and Business Continuity plans and strategies be considered in the presentation and marketing efforts of the organisation’s risk profile. Over the past 12 months, providing evidence of robust resilience planning has been a critical requirement for many organisations in securing insurance renewal terms.

Preparing for Recovery

With the gradual easing of social distaining rules, we can now start to think about what recovery might look like. For some organisations, this may start in the coming weeks but for most, it is still likely to be many months away. Given the massive scale of disruption, the recovery process is something that has to be planned for, taking into consideration:

  • What you want the ‘end-state’ to look like. This is where we should all be thinking about innovating our businesses, rather than simply replicating what we were before COVID-19.
  • How you will implement a phased resumption of business, eventually leading to full capacity.
  • What you will need to do to reengage with employees and how you will support their return to work.
  • How your supply chain will hold up during a rapid surge in demand. Are your key suppliers aligned with your needs?
  • How you will communicate with customers and other key stakeholders.
  • How you will fund the resumption of business, particularly if customer demand is slow to return.