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Infectious diseases

Stephen SimpsonEditor's message: Cases of Wuhan novel coronavirus (COVID-19) have been confirmed in around 30 countries other than China including the UK, the USA, Canada, France, Thailand, Singapore and Japan.

While the coronavirus is a type of virus that is fairly common across the world, Wuhan novel coronavirus is a new strain of the virus so called because it was initially identified in Wuhan in China. Associated symptoms can include a fever, a cough and difficulty breathing. There have been a number of deaths and severe cases in China although it is reported that symptoms are mild in the majority of cases and the deaths occurred where the person had a pre-existing illness or condition.

Employers should consider what they can do to protect their business and their workforce from the virus particularly if the threat escalates. Employers should issue clear guidance to employees who have recently travelled to China or who have been in contact with someone who has. Employers should also consider putting in place a flu pandemic or infectious diseases contingency plan that addresses business continuity in the event that the situation worsens.

Stephen Simpson, principal employment law editor

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