Covid-19-Updates

Daily Updates: COVID-19 April 9

by Enhesa 09 Apr. 2020

In this blog you will find the newest regulations that our in-house EHS Experts have documented in the last 24 hours around the globe.

 

What is Happening Around the Globe?

With measures changing globally in response to the Covid-19 virus on a daily basis, we acknowledge how difficult it is for the EHS/SHE community to stay up-to-date and on top of regulations. At Enhesa, staying on top of regulations always has been our priority. In this virus pandemic we are gearing up in order to support organizations in the best possible way. That is why we have decided to start distributing all Covid-19 related Regulatory Forecaster Service content as broadly as we possibly can within the community.

Below are the last updates on Coronavirus related developments that the Enhesa's EHS Experts have found around the globe. These updates will help you to keep track of the rapidly changing mandatory and voluntary guidance related to this crisis. Want to have these updates daily pushed to your inbox? Subscribe to the Enhesa Covid-19 newsletter here.

Should you require more guidance, please do not hesitate to reach out to Enhesa.

The below Regulatory Forecaster reports have been released on Wednesday 8th of April. Each day we will publish new releases. 

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SHANGHAI

Production permits and several other safety management permits renewal for construction operations are extended three months after the COVID-19 emergency period

Abstract: As of 18 March 2020, according to the Circular on the Extension of Construction Production Permit During the COVID-19 Period, companies that have construction operations and need to renew the Production Permits, or any of the certificates of the principal managers, project managers, safety managers, and special operation personnel, the companies are given additional three months to renew after the COVID-19 period.

Business Impact: If the company has any construction operation and needs to renew its Production Permit or any certificates of its management personnel (e.g., safety management personnel), the company is given additional three months to renew after the COVID-19 period.

Analysis: On 18 March 2020, the Shanghai Housing and Urban Planning Committee released the Circular on the Extension of Construction Production Permit During the COVID-19 Period (关于延长因受疫情影响建筑施工企业安全生产许可证有效期的通知) to extend the renewal of expired for additional three months after the COVID-19 period for Production Permits and certifications of principal managers, project managers, safety managers, and special operation personnel.

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IRELAND

Further temporary restrictions imposed on companies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Abstract: As of March 2020, companies carrying out non-essential activities must shut down, if their employees are unable to work from home. Companies must refrain from holding mass gatherings, ensure employees do not travel outside of Ireland or within an area where an affected areas order applies. This follows from the announcement made by the Irish Government on 27 March 2020 imposing further restrictive measures on companies to prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Business Impact: If the company undertakes activities deemed to be non-essential, it must temporarily shut down, if its employees cannot work from home. Furthermore, the company must cancel all travel outside Ireland as well as between and within specified areas in Ireland. Finally, the company must not hold any large gatherings. The company is exempted from the shut down order if it performs an essential activity, provided employees observe social distancing measures (such as maintaining 1.5 metres distance between employees at all times).

Analysis: As of March 2020, companies face further restrictions as set out under the Health (Preservation and Protection and other Emergency Measures in the Public Interest) Act 2020 and the Health Act 1947 (Section 31A-Temporary Restrictions) (Covid-19) Regulations 2020. The official text of this legislation has yet to be made available, however, a draft version was published by the Department of Health. Under the temporary legislation, companies are prohibited from:
holding mass gatherings;
allowing employees to travel outside Ireland; or
allowing employees to travel within Ireland where an affected areas order applies.
Companies carrying out non-essential work must shut down if their employees cannot work from home. Non-compliance will result in a fine of up to EUR 2,500 or a 6 month term of imprisonment. The Act allows for the detention of individuals who pose a public health risk arsing from their failure to comply with self-isolation orders.

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GERMANY

HANSEATIC CITY OF BREMEN 

Companies have to comply with restrictions and hygiene rules due to new Ordinance against Sars-CoV-2

Abstract: Contact restrictions and restrictions for shops and facilities continue with the new Ordinance to protect against new infections with the SARS-CoV-2. The Ordinance strengthens the obligation to keep a distance from one another in all public places and also the requirement for companies to comply with hygiene rules in their facilities and especially in areas with public access.

Business Impact: Companies with points of sale open for the public should be aware of the requirement to guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between all customers, to comply with hygiene rules, and to avoid queues. If the company has facilities with canteens, they should be aware that the canteen has to be closed or offer food to take away. Companies should be up-to-date on all regulations and measures in their local community concerning the coronavirus, as they might differ from the state regulations.

Analysis: Since 4 April 2020, the new Ordinance to protect against new infections with the SARS-CoV-2, which is based on the Federal Infection Protection Act (IfSG), summarizes all regulations in the Hanseatic City of Bremen that has been passed to contain the coronavirus. Although this Ordinance is binding for all citizens of Bremen, the local communities can pass even stricter regulations, which is why it is essential always to be up-to-date about the latest Decrees passed by the local community. The most important aspects of this Ordinance, among others, are:
In all companies and especially those with public traffic, it is crucial to comply with the hygiene regulations and to implement adequate protective measures for employees and visitors;
Points of sale have to guarantee a distance of 1.5 m between all customers at all time, avoid queues and other crowds and comply with the hygiene rules;
Citizens have to reduce contact with other people outside of their household to a necessary minimum;
Restaurants and canteens have to be closed unless they offer food to take away.
The Ordinance will be valid until 19 April 2020 with the possibility of an extension. Federal and state governments have agreed to decide on how to proceed after the 19 April 2020 on a meeting after the 14 April 2020, depending on the infection rate numbers.

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GERMANY

BAVARIA

Authorities can confiscate necessary materials and order the production of certain medical equipment during health emergency

Abstract: Companies could be asked to give up medical supplies it holds or it could be ordered manufacture medical equipment, if it has the capacity to do so under the Bavarian Infection Protection Act (BayIfSG). The Act applies during a declared health emergency and is due to expire on 31 December 2020.

Business Impact: If the company produces medical, nursing, or sanitary material or has in stock a large amount of these materials, they should be aware that they could be ordered to produce materials or hand them over to the authorities. They should also be aware of the possibility of financial compensation.

Analysis: On 27 March 2020 the Bavarian Infection Protection Act (BayIfSG) came into force. The act defines when a health emergency has to be announced and regulates the specific rights of authorities during a health emergency. As the Government already announced a Health Emergency, as of the 27 March 2020 the authorities can order companies to produce medical materials that are needed and confiscate these materials from private persons and companies. As the Bavarian State Government already announced a health emergency the local authorities are allowed, as of the 27 March 2020, to order specific measures according to the BayIfSG. The most important measures, that can also affect companies are the following:
The authorities can order companies that are technically and economically capable of producing the medical, nursing or sanitary material to prioritize the immediate production of a certain amount of this material, insofar as this is necessary to maintain the necessary health care for the population.
Companies could be obligated to report to the authorities, if they have the needed medical, nursing or sanitary materials in stock in an amount that goes beyond their own consumption or the need for their own medical or nursing care mandate.
The BayIfSG gives companies the right for financial compensation, in case that they are affected by the measures. The act has been passed specifically due to the current health emergency of the coronavirus and is therefore temporary. It is due to expire on 31 December 2020. However, the authorities will only be allowed to order the above mentioned measure during the proclaimed health emergency. As soon as, the government ends the state of health emergency, the authorities will not be allowed to order these measures.

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UNITED STATES

FEDERAL

EPA denies unregistered disinfectant products from being imported into Honolulu and Guam with unverified claims to kill or repel bacteria or germs

Abstract: On 25 March 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that it prevented several shipments of illegal health products from entering the United States under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Unregistered disinfectant products make unverified claims regarding their ability to kill or repel bacteria or germs and will not be allowed to be sold for use in the United States.

Business Impact: If the company manufactures, imports, distributes, or sells disinfectant products in the United States, it must follow federal pesticide laws regarding disinfectant products. Disinfectant products, including those used to kill or repel bacteria or germs related to coronavirus (COVID-19), must be registered with EPA and labeled, in English, with EPA-approved claims. Although this enforcement action does not have a direct impact on the company, it should note that EPA will deny entry and sale in the United States of any unregistered disinfectant products.

Analysis: On 25 March 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) prevented several shipments of an illegal health product from entering U.S. Pacific ports under the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).

Under FIFRA, products claiming to kill or repel bacteria or germs must be registered with EPA before they are distributed or sold in the United States. EPA will register the product if it determines that the product does not pose an unreasonable risk when used according to the label directions. Products not registered by EPA can be harmful to human health, cause adverse effects, and may not be effective against the spread of germs. Also, labels, including directions for use, must be in English. EPA, working with U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), denied entry to an illegal product, which was imported from Japan and Hong Kong through U.S. ports in Honolulu and Guam. EPA and CBP will continue monitoring for products with illegal pesticidal claims. In addition, EPA has reached out to certain online retailers to remove the product from their online marketplace, and those retailers have taken this step.

More Information The notice of the shipment prevention can be found on EPA's website. EPA also has a list of EPA-registered disinfectant products on its website. Specifically, List N: Disinfectants for Use Against SARS-CoV-2, deals with disinfectants that are effective against COVID-19. More information on EPA resources regarding COVID-19 is available on EPA's COVID-19 Website. Finally, more information on pesticides is available on EPA's Pesticide Website.

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UNITED STATES

FEDERAL

Companies should use new OSHA poster to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) in the workplace

Abstract: With the current outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), companies should follow the guidance published by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to limit or prevent workplace exposure to COVID-19. Notably, OSHA published a new poster for companies to use to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Business Impact: The company should limit workplace exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19) as much as possible. To do so, the company can use the Occupational Health and Safety Administration's (OSHA's) new poster, listing steps that all workplaces can take to reduce the risk of workplace exposure to COVID-19. The company should post the OSHA poster in a place where informational posters are typically displayed in the workplace.

Analysis: On 6 April 2020, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new poster listing steps all workplaces can take to reduce the risk of exposure to coronavirus (COVID-19). The safety measures include encouraging sick workers to stay home; establishing flexible worksites and staggered work shifts; discouraging workers from using other workers’ phones, desks, and other work equipment; and using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved cleaning chemicals with label claims against COVID-19. The new OSHA poster should be displayed where informational posters are typically displayed in the workplace. The new OSHA poster can be found online. More information can be found on OSHA's COVID-19 website.

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MEXICO

Online submittal of Annual Operation Report not affected by temporary shutdown of public authorities

Abstract: Companies which need to contact the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - SEMARNAT) regarding hazardous materials and waste authorizations are able to do so on specific dates and times. Companies which need to submit their Annual Operation Report (Cédula de Operación Anual - COA) can do so online as usual.

Business Impact: If the facility has a Single Environmental License (LicenciaAmbiental Unica - LAU), it must submit its Annual Operation Report (Cédula de Operación Anual - COA) as usual in the online system but can contact the Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - SEMARNAT) the following emails available to address any concerns regarding the submittal of the COA: sinatec@semarnat.gob.mx, coa@semarnat.gob.mx, rene@semarnat.gob.mx and sgpa.coa@semarnat.gob.mx and the operation of the COAweb system from 09:00 am to 6:00 pm on 01, 02, 03, 06, 07, 08, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 April 2020. If the facility needs to contact SEMARNAT regarding any of the following authorizations, it can contact the General Department of Comprehensive Management of Materials and Risk Activities (Dirección General de Gestión Integral de Materiales y ActividadesRiesgosas) from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on 02, 07, 14 and 16April 2020 as well as the Citizen Contact Space (Espacio de Contacto Ciudadano) located on Av. EjércitoNacional número 223, Colonia Anáhuac, Alcaldía Miguel Hidalgo, Código Postal 11320, Mexico City:
SEMARNAT-07-015 - Authorization for the import of pesticides, fertilizers, and toxic or hazardous substances;
SEMARNAT-07-016 - Authorization for the export of hazardous materials;
SEMARNAT-07-021 - Notification of temporary import of materials and return of its hazardous waste; and
SEMARNAT-07-029 - Authorization for the Trans-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Other Waste Addressed in International Treaties.

Analysis: Due to the temporary suspension of activities of the public sector because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - SEMARNAT) announces that the online system for filing the Annual Operation Report (Cédula de Operación Anual - COA) continues to operate as usual. It makes the following emails available to address any concerns regarding the submittal of the COA: sinatec@semarnat.gob.mx, coa@semarnat.gob.mx, rene@semarnat.gob.mx and sgpa.coa@semarnat.gob.mx and the operation of the COAweb system from 09:00 am to 6:00 pm on 01, 02, 03, 06, 07, 08, 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17 April 2020. The COA is submitted electronically to SEMARNAT annually between 01 March to 30 June by those facilities that have obtained a Single Environmental License (LicenciaAmbiental Unica - LAU). The COA must include information regarding:
the facility's general technical information;
air emissions;
water use and wastewater discharge;
generation, treatment and transfer of hazardous waste; and
annual transfer of contaminants.
The contents of the COA must comprise the information on emissions corresponding to the previous calendar year.

Due to the temporary suspension of activities of the public sector because of the Coronavirus (COVID-19), Secretariat of Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales - SEMARNAT) opens its offices to process the following authorizations:
SEMARNAT-07-015 - Authorization for the import of pesticides, fertilizers, and toxic or hazardous substances;
SEMARNAT-07-016 - Authorization for the export of hazardous materials;
SEMARNAT-07-021 - Notification of temporary import of materials and return of its hazardous waste; and
SEMARNAT-07-029 - Authorization for the Trans-border Movement of Hazardous Waste and Other Waste Addressed in International Treaties.
The General Department of Comprehensive Management of Materials and Risk Activities (Dirección General de Gestión Integral de Materiales y ActividadesRiesgosas) is going to be open from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm on 02, 07, 14 and 16April 2020 as well as the Citizen Contact Space (Espacio de Contacto Ciudadano) located on Av. EjércitoNacional número 223, Colonia Anáhuac, Alcaldía Miguel Hidalgo, Código Postal 11320, Mexico City to address those facilities involved in the authorization process.

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VIETNAM

Companies must apply necessary measures to prevent and control COVID-19 and assure OHS conditions at the workplaces

Abstract: Starting from 1 April to 15 April 2020, heads of companies are required to apply measures to prevent and control of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), and assure occupational health and safety (OHS) conditions at the workplaces as stated under the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg released on 31 March 2020. Further, companies must ensure that their employees keep a safety distance (i.e., a minimum distance of 2 meters) when communicating, and wear masks. The workplaces must be disinfected and sterilized in line with the guidance to be issued by the Department of Health.

Business Impact: If the company operates in Vietnam, it must apply measures to prevent and control of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), such as providing personal protective equipment (PPE) and temporarily suspending non-urgent operations. Further, the company must ensure occupational health and safety (OHS) conditions at its workplaces, as specified under the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg dated 31 March 2020. Lastly, the company must ensure that its employees keep a safety distance (i.e., a minimum distance of 2 meters) when communicating, and wear masks. The workplaces must be disinfected and sterilized in line with the guidance to be issued by the Department of Health.

Analysis: On 31 March 2020, the Prime Minister released the Directive No. 16/CT-TTg to provide guidance for the implementation of urgent measures for prevention and control of 2019 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Accordingly, Vietnam carries out nationwide quarantine for 15 days due to COVID-19 starting from 1 April 2020. According to the Directive No. 16/CT-TTg, starting 1 April to 15 April 2020, heads of companies must apply measures to prevent and control COVID-19 ensuring occupational health and safety (OHS) conditions at the workplaces. In particular, companies must ensure that their employees keep a safety distance (i.e., a minimum distance of 2 meters) when communicating, and wear masks. The workplaces must be disinfected and sterilized in line with the guidance to be issued by the Department of Health (Section 2, Directive No. 16/CT-TTg). This guidance has not been identified. Specific measures to prevent and control COVID-19 are set out under the Legal Document No. 2601/VPCP-KGVX dated 3 April 2020 of the Government’s Office, providing guidance for the implementation of the Directive No. 16/CT-TTg (Section 2 and 4). It includes, but is not limited to, the following:
Ensuring that the employees are wearing masks;
Providing personal protective equipment (PPE) for the prevention and control of COVID-19;
Ensuring that the employees have been carried out heath declaration and are complying with measures to restrict movement, contact, and communication;
Temporarily suspending non-urgent activities;
Reducing the concentration of employees;
Organizing and managing the transportation of employees, if any, to the workplaces to prevent disease transmission risks; and
Organizing works at home for certain employees in accordance with the specific conditions of the companies.
Companies could be subject to an inspection of the Department of Health (Sở Y tế) as affirmed under the Legal Document No. 2601/VPCP-KGVX. Companies that fail to comply with the requirements mentioned above will be forced to suspend their operations temporarily. Additionally, as required under the Law on Prevention and Control of Infectious Diseases (“the Law”), companies must not assign employees suffering, or suspected of suffering, from an infectious disease (i.e., COVID-19) to works potentially transmit agents of infectious disease (Article 8). Furthermore, companies must ensure that access to epidemic areas for employees and vehicles is restricted. If necessary, medical examination and supervision must be applied, as stated under the Law (Article 53). In terms of the reporting requirements, the Law establishes that companies must submit an infectious disease surveillance report with the required contents specified in Article 21 of this Law to competent authorities (e.g., Department of Health). In the case of emergency, the infectious disease surveillance report can be transmitted by fax, e-mail, telegraph, telephone, or verbally with a written version to be submitted within 24 hours afterward (Article 22). Directive No. 16/CT-TTg dated 31 March 2020 of the Prime Minister on implementation of urgent measures for prevention and control of COVID-19 is available in Vietnamese online. Further, Legal Document No. 2601/VPCP-KGVX dated 3 April 2020 of the Government’s Office providing guidance for the implementation of the Prime Minister’s Directive No. 16/CT-TTg of 31 March 2020 is available in Vietnamese online.

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PHILIPPINES

Companies must suspend work due to coronavirus disease for six months

Abstract: As of 16 March 2020, companies must suspend work for 6 months as the President of the Philippines declared a state of calamity throughout the Philippines due to coronavirus disease 2019. This roots from the President of the Philippines Proclamation No. 929 Declaring a State of Calamity Throughout the Philippines due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 in conjunction with the Labor Advisory No.01 Series of 2020 on the Suspension of Work in the Private Sector by Reason of Natural or Man-Made Calamity.

Business Impact: Companies must suspend works for 6 months starting from 16 March 2020, unless earlier lifted or extended. This is due to the Proclamation No. 929 Declaring a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 and in conjunction with the Labor Advisory No.01 Series of 2020 on the Suspension of Work in the Private Sector by Reason of Natural or Man-Made Calamity.

Analysis: On 16 March 2020, the President of the Philippines issued the Proclamation No. 929 Declaring a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines due to Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Proclamation declares the a state of public health emergency throughout the Philippines due to coronavirus. Background Under the Labor Advisory No.01 Series of 2020, private sector companies must suspend work to ensure the safety and health of their employees during a natural or man-made calamity, except when provided by the law or otherwise stated in an appropriate proclamation. Under the law, companies are also prohibited to give administrative sanction to employees who fail or refuse to work by reason of imminent danger resulting from natural or man-made calamity. Suspension of work Due to the proclamation of a state of calamity throughout the Philippines and in conjunction withLabor Advisory No.01 Series of 2020 on the Suspension of Work in the Private Sector by Reason of Natural or Man-Made Calamity, companies must suspend work for 6 months unless earlier lifted or extended. President of the Philippines Proclamation No. 929 Declaring a State of Calamity throughout the Philippines due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 is available online.

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PHILIPPINES

Companies to maintain worker's safety in times of pandemic through telecommuting

Abstract: Companies are encouraged to avail telecommuting to help suppress the spread of coronavirus pursuant to the Republic Act No. 11165, an Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector. This is due to the press release by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines to avail telecommuting to help suppress the spread of coronavirus.

Business Impact: Companies are encouraged to make available telecommuting to their workers to help suppress the spread of coronavirus pursuant to the Republic Act No. 11165, An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector. This is due to the press release by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines to avail telecommuting to help suppress the spread of coronavirus.

Analysis: On 9 and 10 March 2020 consecutively, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines issued a press release to urge companies to make available telecommuting as a means to maintain worker's safety in times of the pandemic of coronavirus. Background Under the Republic Act No. 11165, An Act Institutionalizing Telecommuting as an Alternative Work Arrangement for Employees in the Private Sector, companies in the private sector may offer a telecommuting program to its employees on a voluntary basis, which must be mutually agreed upon. Due to the spread of coronavirus, the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines issued a press release to encourage employers to maintain worker's safety by making available the telecommuting option for workers. Telecommuting Companies are encouraged to make available telecommuting for their workers to minimize risks of getting infected and maintain worker's safety in times of the coronavirus pandemic. The Press Release by the House of Representatives and the Senate of the Philippines are available online.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    blog-divider                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

PHILIPPINES

Companies can now access guidelines on the prevention and control of coronavirus at the workplace

Abstract: As of 31 January 2020, companies can access the Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Prevention and Control at the Workplace published by the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE). The Guidelines apply to all employers and workers in the private sector.

Business Impact: The company must ensure the health and safety of its employees and others at the workplace in relation to the coronavirus outbreak following the Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus (CoV) Prevention and Control at the Workplace. This includes providing information about CoV, ensuring the use of personal protective equipment for workers at risk, and care of workers who are sick or with fever. 

Analysis: On 31 January 2020, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) published the Labor Advisory No. 04 Series 2020, Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus (CoV) Prevention and Control at the Workplace (the Guidelines). While the Guidelines are not mandatory, it can ultimately help companies achieve compliance with general work health and safety duties Background Under the Republic Act 11058 and its Implementing Rules and Regulations, employers must ensure health and safety at the workplace. In relation to the CoV outbreaks, the DOLE released the Guidelines on the Prevention and Control of CoV at the Workplace to assist workplaces in their preparedness and response to the CoV. Workplace health Under the Guidelines, as a precautionary measure at the workplace, all employers are encouraged to:
provide information about CoV including its transmission, disease outcome, and treatment options to their workers;
clean the work areas with disinfectant and make sure that water, soap, and sanitizer are available in all washrooms and toilets;
avoid or reduce direct exposure of workers to animals, environments, and objects which may be possibly carrying the CoV;
ensure food in canteens or similar areas is properly prepared, handled and cooked;
emphasize to all workers the everyday actions to stay healthy and keep a clean workplace, such as cover the nose and mouth when coughing, avoid close contact with sick people, and spit at proper places;
monitor the health of workers, particularly those with fever or flu, and those who have traveled to or worked in countries affected with the CoV.
Workplace with imminent danger situations In workplaces where workers are at risk of infection as in healthcare and other front-line services, the employer must take immediate protective measures to avoid, correct or remove such imminent danger. A screening program on CoV must be installed following the procedure using a checklist that may include the following:
recent travel to China or a country or place on the World Health Organization (WHO) list with local transmission or outbreak of CoV;
recent contact with a confirmed or suspected CoV; and
affliction by such symptoms as a fever higher than 38 degrees Celsius and flu-like symptoms such as cough, difficulty of breathing or shortness of breath.
The Guidance does not define imminent danger situations. Personal protective equipment Employers must also ensure that personal protective equipment (PPE) (for example, N95 respirators, gowns, gloves) is properly worn by the workers that are evidently at risk of infection while at work and disposed of accordingly after use. Care of workers who are sick or with fever In the event where a worker is suspected as having CoV, employers must:
provide the worker with a face mask to prevent the risk of spreading the infection;
isolate the worker immediately in a separate well-ventilated room in the workplace, away from other workers;
refer the worker to the company healthcare provider or to the nearest local health center or hospital for laboratory confirmation if the history, signs, and symptoms are consistent with a suspected case of CoV;
report the worker to the Department of Health (DOH) by calling the DOH (8-711-1001 or 8-711-1002);
ensure the implementation of recommendations provided by the DOH on the management and transport of suspected case of CoV;
observe respiratory precautions when taking care of patients with flu or flu-like illness; and
decontaminate the work area with appropriate disinfectant (for example, chlorine bleaching solution).
In the event where a worker is sick or has a fever but is not suspected of having CoV, the employer must advise the worker to take prudent measures to limit the spread of infectious diseases as follows:
stay at home and keep away from work or crowds;
take adequate rest and take plenty of fluids;
practice personal hygiene to prevent the spread of disease; and
seek appropriate medical care if there is persistent fever, when the difficulty of breathing has started, or when he/she becomes weak.
The Labor Advisory No. 04 Series 2020, Guidelines on 2019 Novela Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Prevention and Control at the Workplace is available online.

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PHILIPPINES

Companies can now access guideline on flexible work arrangements as a remedial measure to coronavirus

Abstract: As of 4 March 2020, companies can access the Department Labor and Employment (DOLE) Labor Advisory No. 09 Series of 2020, Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure Due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019. The Guidelines assist employers in implementing flexible work arrangements (such as reduction of work hours, rotation of workers, and forced leave) to cope with the coronavirus outbreak.

Business Impact: If the company implements flexible working arrangements in accordance with the DOLE Guidelines, it posts a copy of the Guidelines at their workplace and notify the DOLE through the regional/ provincial/ field office. While it is not obliged, companies are encouraged in the guidelines to implement flexible work arrangements as a remedial measure to coronavirus by suggesting the reduction of work hours, rotation of workers and/ or forced leave for employees.

Analysis: On 4 March 2020, the Department Labor and Employment (DOLE) issued the Labor Advisory No. 09 Series of 2020, Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure Due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 ("the Guidelines"). The Guidelines aim to guide employers to implement flexible work arrangements as a remedial measure to coronavirus. Flexible work arrangements Companies are encouraged to explore alternative work arrangements and may consider the following options for flexible work arrangements due to the coronavirus outbreak:
reduction of work hours and/ or workdays, where the normal work hours or workdays per week are reduced;
rotation of workers, where the employees are rotated or alternately provided work within the week;
forced leave where the employees are required to go on leave for several days or weeks utilizing their leave credits if there are any.
Posting and notice Companies implementing the flexible work arrangements must post a copy of the Guidelines at their workplace and notify the DOLE through the regional/ provincial/ field office, which has jurisdiction over the workplace of any of the above flexible work arrangements. The notice must be submitted in the form of a Report made available by the DOLE. Department Labor and Employment Labor Advisory No. 09 Series of 2020, Guidelines on the Implementation of Flexible Work Arrangements as Remedial Measure Due to the Ongoing Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 is available online.

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INDONESIA

Companies must take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the workplace

Abstract: As of 12 March 2020, companies must take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus at the workplace. This is due to the Circular Letter of the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision and Management No. 5/193/AS.02.02/III/2020 on the preparedness to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace.

Business Impact: Companies must conduct preventive measures in preventing the spread of coronavirus at the workplace, such as providing employees access to hand-wash basin (with flowing water and soap) or hand sanitizer in common areas at the workplace (such as at the entrance, lift, and toilet) and to list and to report every employees with coronavirus symptoms to the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision of the Ministry of Manpower. This is due to the Circular Letter of the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision and Management No. 5/193/AS.02.02/III/2020 on the preparedness to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace.

Analysis: On 12 March 2020, the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision and Managementof the Ministry of Manpower issued the Circular Letter of the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision and Management No. 5/193/AS.02.02/III/2020 on the preparedness to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace. Preventive measures The Circular Letter requires company to conduct preventive measures in preventing the spread of coronavirus at the workplace, such as:
to educate its employees on the cause, symptoms, infections, and prevention of coronavirus;
to maintain the cleanliness of the workplace;
to provide access to hand-wash basin (with flowing water and soap) or hand sanitizer in common areas at the workplace (such as at the entrance, lift, and toilet);
to ensure its employees to maintain their hands' sanitation, including avoiding to touch mouth, nose, and eyes;
to ensure its employees to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds;
to ensure its employees to cover their mouth with tissue when sneezing or coughing; and
to list and to report every employees with coronavirus symptoms to the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision of the Ministry of Manpower.
Circular Letter of the Director General of Occupational Health and Safety Supervision and Management No. 5/193/AS.02.02/III/2020 on the preparedness to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the workplace is available online.

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INDONESIA

Companies operating in the road transportation sector must take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus

Abstract: As of 27 March 2020, companies operating in the road transportation sector in Indonesia must take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, such as providing personal protective equipment for employees. This is due to the Director General of Road Transportation Regulation No. KP.1629/UM.006/DRJD/2020 on the Standard Operating Procedure for Preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the Road Transportation Sector.

Business Impact: If the company operates in the road transportation sector, it must take measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. For example, the company must provide thermo gun and/ or therma scanner at the workplace, personal protective equipment for the drivers/ employees, and put information on the prevention of coronavirus in public areas. This is due to the Director General of Road Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation issued the Director General of Road Transportation Regulation No. KP.1629/UM.006/DRJD/2020 on the Standard Operating Procedure for Preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the Road Transportation Sector. The Regulation sets the standard operating procedure for preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the road transportation sector.

Analysis: On 27 March 2020, the Director General of Road Transportation of the Ministry of Transportation issued the Director General of Road Transportation Regulation No. KP.1629/UM.006/DRJD/2020 on the Standard Operating Procedure for Preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the Road Transportation Sector. The Regulation sets the standard operating procedure for preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the road transportation sector, which applies to companies operating in the road transportation sector. The measures that must be taken by companies to prevent the spread of coronavirus include:
providing thermo gun and/ or therma scanner at the workplace;
providing personal protective equipment for the drivers/ employees;
providing mask, gloves, disinfectant to employees; and
putting information on the prevention of coronavirus in public areas such as offices, in front of the passenger counter, in the passenger waiting room, and on the vehicle toll gate.
Director General of Road Transportation Regulation No. KP.1629/UM.006/DRJD/2020 on the Standard Operating Procedure for Preventing the Coronavirus Disease Spread (COVID-19) in the Road Transportation Sector is available online.

 

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MALAYSIA

Preventive measures against coronavirus at the workplace

Abstract: As of 4 March 2020, companies may continue to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of their employees by undertaking preventive measures against coronavirus at the workplace according to advice contained within the Ministry of Human Resources Media Statement on Safety Guidance to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994). The Media Statement aims to remind employers to comply with the OSHA 1994 and take preventive measures against coronavirus at the workplace.

Business Impact: Companies must continue to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the employees, including to take control measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak (for example, to carry out a risk assessment, identify workers who have visited countries infected with coronavirus, and delay travel to affected countries). This is due to the Ministry of Human Resources Media Statement on Safety Guidance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 on Preventive Measures Against Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Workplace. The Media Statement aims to remind employers to comply with the OSHA 1994 and take preventive measures against coronavirus at the workplace.

Analysis: On 4 March 2020, the Ministry of Human Resources issued a media statement on Safety Guidance to the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1994 (OSHA 1994) relating to the coronavirus outbreak in Malaysia. The Media Statement aims to remind employers to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 and take control measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus outbreak. Background Under OSHA 1994, employers have an obligation to ensure the safety, health, and well-being of the employees. Due to the outbreak of coronavirus infection in Malaysia, which includes cases involving workers, the Ministry of Human Resources through the Department of Occupational Safety and Health would like to remind employers of their ongoing duty to comply with OSHA 1994. Preventive measures In implementing OSHA 1994 in relation to the coronavirus outbreak, employers must:
carry out a risk assessment and improve work procedure to reduce worker's exposure to the virus, especially for those sectors at risk (front row staff);
identify workers who have visited countries infected with coronavirus by conducting health monitoring of workers, especially if they have symptoms such as fever, cough, and difficulty of breathing;
comply with quarantine instructions issued to their employees by registered medical practitioners or another relevant authority;
delay travel to affected countries;
provide appropriate personal protective equipment to the employee based on the risk assessment that has been carried out;
maintain a high level of personal hygiene;
instruct workers to use mask and hand sanitizer when needed; and
check the Ministry of Health's website to get the latest information on the spread of this epidemic.
The Ministry of Human Resources Media Statement on Safety Guidance to the Occupational Health and Safety Act 1994 on Preventive Measures Against Coronavirus (COVID-19) at the Workplace is available online.

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MALAYSIA

Companies can now access the social distancing guidelines for workplace

Abstract: As of 24 March 2020, companies can access the COVID-19: Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace, Homes and Individuals. The Guidelines help companies to take measures in reducing the impact of coronavirus pandemic by practicing social distancing.

Business Impact: Companies can now access the COVID-19: Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace, Homes and Individuals. The Guidelines help companies to take measures in reducing the impact of coronavirus pandemic by practicing social distancing (for example, to encourage no handshake policy, encourage employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick). The Guidelines apply to all companies in Malaysia.

Analysis: On 12 March 2020, the Occupational Health Unit of the Ministry of Health issued the COVID-19: Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace, Homes and Individuals. The Guide gives companies voluntary recommendations to conduct social distancing as workplace measures to reduce the impact of coronavirus pandemic. The workplace measures advised include:
encouraging employees to stay home and notify workplace administrators when sick;
if employees develop symptoms at work, ensuring the employees to avoid contact with fellow employees;
encouraging employees to telework when feasible (in between departments, interstate, inter-organization, when an employee is on home surveillance);
encouraging no handshake policy;
increasing physical space between workers at the workplace (1 meter apart);
staggering work schedules;
limiting in-person meetings. If unavoidable, the meeting should be short;
encouraging employees to take meals at their desk;
avoiding congregating in work and photocopier rooms;
avoiding large work-related gatherings (staff meetings, after-work functions); and
avoiding non-essential work travels.
COVID-19: Social Distancing Guidelines for Workplace, Homes and Individuals is available online.

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AUSTRALIA

Companies can now access working from home checklist

Abstract: Companies can now access Working from Home Checklist issued by the Comcare. The Checklist guides workers with short-term working from home arrangements.

Business Impact: Companies can now access Working from Home Checklist issued by the Comcare. The Checklist provides guidance for workers and employers with short-term working from home arrangements. For example, workers and employers are encouraged to take appropriate breaks to ensure repetitive actions are not continued for long periods and to stay connected via phone, email and/or online.

Analysis: The Comcare provides the Working from Home checklist for short-term working from home arrangements, which includes workers that enter the 14-day isolation period for COVID-19. The checklist provides guidance for workers and employers, such as: Any physical activity required to be undertaken
take appropriate breaks to ensure repetitive actions are not continued for long periods;
breaks involve stretching and changing of posture, and possibly alternating activity;
have a comfortable posture; and
make sure any lifting, pushing, or carrying type task is well within their physical capacity.
The work environment
check there are sufficient levels of ventilation and thermal comfort;
check walkways are clear of clutter and trip hazards such as trailing electrical cords; and
check there is suitable storage for documents and books.
Communication
make an agreement about a reasonable communication system (for example, call-in or email morning and night);
if there is any change that may impact health and safety of worker (for example, a new pet, renovations or moving house), the worker must inform employer; and
employer to ensure the agreed communications strategy with the worker is documented.
Work practices
take breaks every 30 minutes of keyboarding and stand at least once per hour;
keep wrists upright while typing and make sure they are not supported on any surface while typing; and
sitting posture is upright or slightly reclined.
Mental health
schedule regular meetings and catch-ups with employer, team, and clients to help maintain ongoing contact;
stay connected via phone, email and/or online; and
use outdoor spaces where possible when taking breaks and incorporate some exercise as part of the working day.
Working from Home Checklist is available online.

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HUNGARY

Companies should be aware that extended restrictions on travelling to Hungary will impact employee travel plans

Abstract: As of 2 April, companies should be aware that travel restrictions to the territory of Hungary were extended without a set time limit, meaning that employees without Hungarian citizenship or without the right for permanent residence can only enter Hungary under exceptional circumstances.

Business Impact: The new measures adopted by the Government of Hungary do not create direct requirements for the company. However, the company should be aware that as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it must adapt any employee travel plans to Hungary to the current restrictions impacting the entry into the territory of Hungary.

Analysis: The Government of Hungary has emitted Government Decree 81/2020 (IV. 1.) on extraordinary measures related to the state of emergency in order to protect health and life, as well as to restore national economy, containing extraordinary measures, which aims at slowing down COVID-19. The Decree lays down, among other things, the following:
In general, non-Hungarian citizens cannot enter the territory of Hungary.
Hungarian citizens arriving from abroad to Hungary are subject to a mandatory medical examination upon entering the territory of Hungary. If the Hungarian citizen is tested positive for COVID-19, the citizen goes to a designated quarantine (kijelölt karantén). If the Hungarian citizen is tested negative for COVID-19, the citizen goes to self-quarantine at his or her home (hatósági házi karantén) for 14 days. Hungarian citizens going into self-quarantine are registered. Self-quarantine is controlled by the police.
If a Hungarian citizen arrives from abroad to Hungary and was tested negative for COVID-19, but does not have a place of residence (lakóhely vagy tartózkodási hely) in Hungary, they must either leave the territory of Hungary or go into a designated quarantine.
The Government Decree also contains some exceptions related to entering to Hungary from abroad:
If a Hungarian citizen arriving from abroad to Hungary provides credible proof that he or she recovered from COVID-19 and does not show symptoms or was under epidemiological surveillance (járványügyi megfigyelés) for 14 days before entering the territory of Hungary, the citizen does not have to go into self-quarantine. In case the Hungarian citizen has no place of residence in Hungary, the Hungarian citizen does not have to leave the territory of Hungary or go to a designated quarantine.
The national deputy commissioner of the police can make exceptions for both non-citizens of Hungary and for citizens of Hungary from the above restrictions, in case of reasons worthy of special consideration (különös méltánylást érdemlőeset), if the person is tested negative for COVID-19 and registered for the time period of the designated quarantine or self-quarantine.
The national commissioner of the police (országos rendőrfőkapitány) can adopt decisions for citizens of neighbouring countries of Hungary and under humanitarian transit for, for example, designating the route for transit.
The rules on Hungarian citizens apply to citizens of the European Economic Area (EEA), who have the right for permanent residence on the territory of Hungary. The Decree repeals and replaces the Normative Decision of the Chief Medical Officer emitted on 26 March 2020. The core content of the normative decision and this Decree are similar, except that this Decree also sets rules in the field of competences of the military during the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as in the field of the functioning of schools and universities. This Government Decree will remain in force until the end of the state of emergency.

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JAPAN NATIONAL

Japan declared a state of emergency in 7 prefectures to in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Abstract: As of 7 April 2020, companies in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka must be aware that a state of emergency has been declared in these 7 prefectures. Companies, therefore, face further requests from the Japanese governments. The state of emergency is effective until 6 May 2020.

Business Impact: If the company is located in Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo or Fukuoka, it must be aware that Japan has declared a state of emergency in these prefectures. The company is thus requested to, for example, reduce at least 40% attendance of employees in the workplace (except for employers of essential businesses), and restrain from holding events when there is a risk of cluster infection and gathering people in places where are enclosed and crowded, and with close scenes of conversations. The company should also be aware that prefectural governors (都道府県知事) of these 7 prefectures will have the authority to call on the closure of non-essential businesses, and to restrict the use of facilities where many people gather and holding of events. The prefectural governors also have the authority to call on the essential business to continue. If the company is not located in any of these 7 prefectures, it is also recommended to review the updated Basic Policy on Countermeasures Against Novel Coronavirus Infection (hereafter the "Policy": 新型コロナウイルス感染症対策の基本的対処方針) as a reference when taking measures against COVID-19.

Analysis: On 7 April 2020, the Japanese Government has declared a state of emergency in 7 prefectures following the spread status of COVID-19 in Japan. The 7 prefectures are Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka. The state of emergency will last 1 month and until 6 May 2020. The Japanese Government points out that it is not a kind of forced lockdown that happened in other counties. The public transport will run as usual and the roads will not be closed. Under this context, the Basic Policy on Countermeasures Against Novel Coronavirus Infection (hereafter the "Policy": 新型コロナウイルス感染症対策の基本的対処方針) was also updated. Theupdated Policyfurther urges the cooperation of citizens and employers in the abovementioned 7 prefectures to reduce up to 80% of person to person contact during the period of the state of emergency. More specifically, the Japanese Government requests citizens to:
implement basic infection prevention measures;
self-restrain from going out for unnecessary or non-urgent purposes (purposes other than, for example, buying daily necessities, going to doctor appointments, and outdoor exercising);
avoid nightlife, dining with large groups, and places where are enclosed and crowded, and with close scenes of conversations as much as possible;
avoid exercise with intense expiration;
self-restrain from moving across prefectures;
avoid overbuying and hoarding food, pharmaceuticals and other daily necessities; and
in case of returners from outside of Japan, self-isolate for 2 weeks.
Employers are requested to:
promote teleworking and staggered working, to reduce at least 40% attendance of employees in the workplace (except for essential businesses);
restrain from holding events when there is a risk of cluster infection and gathering people in places where are enclosed and crowded, and with close scenes of conversations; and
take prevention measures in its canteens (such as providing ventilation and keeping social distance).
Essential businesses include, for example, healthcare, infrastructure management, supply of daily necessities, logistics and transportation businesses. It should also be noted that, prefectural governors (都道府県知事) of the 7 prefectures will have the authority to call on the closure of non-essential businesses, and to restrict the use of facilities where many people gather (such as cinemas) and holding of events. The prefectural governors also have the authority to call on the essential business to continue.

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ZAMBIA NATIONAL

Facilities must ensure that their workplaces are open to inspection by public health authorities

Abstract: As of 13 March 2020, all work premises must be open to inspection by public health authorities for strict adherence to sound sanitation and hygiene practices.

Business Impact: The company must ensure that all of its facilities are open to inspection by authorised public health officers. In addition, if the company operates a facility which is determined to be an "infected area," the company must obtain a permit from the local authority prior to convening a gathering of more than 5 persons within the infected area.

Analysis: On 13 March 2020, the Public Health Act (Law, Volume 17, Cap 295): The Public Health (Notifiable Infectious Disease) (Declaration) Notice, 2020 ("the Notice") was issued by the Ministry of Health as part of the government's efforts to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus of 2019 ("COVID-19") within Zambia. The Notice declares COVID-19 as a notifiable infectious disease, and prescribes measures to curb its spread. Under the Notice, authorised officers will enter all premises including work premises for the following reasons:
to search for cases of COVID-19;
to inspect the premises to ensure sanitation and hygiene; and
to order cleaning or closure of the premises.
Further, as a result of an inspection, an authorised officer may designate an area as an "infected area." In such a case, any public gathering of more than 5 persons (not of the same family) within that area will require a written permit from the local authority or Medical Officer of Health. In addition, subject to review after 8 April 2020, public gatherings of more than 50 people anywhere within the country are prohibited. An "authorised officer" is a Medical Office of Health, Health Inspector, District Medical Officer, Environmental Health Officer, or a suitably qualified person authorised in writing by the Minister or local authority with approval of the Minister. An "infected area" is a part of the Republic (of Zambia) or any conveyance declared as being or appearing to be threatened by the epidemic of COVID-19. Background According to the Ministry of Health, COVID-19 is a respiratory disease caused by a new coronavirus. The virus causes respiratory illness similar to a common cold, and in severe cases could lead to pneumonia, kidney failure, or death. The Ministry of Health recommends frequent hand washing with soap and water, and frequent use of an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

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BRAZIL

MINAS GERAIS

Companies must comply with suspension and restriction of services and activities in the state of Minas Gerais due to the new coronavirus

Abstract: From 22 March 2020, companies must comply with emergency measures on restriction and suspension concerning the accessibility of services, goods, and activities in the state of Minas Gerais. NOTE: This provision is in force as of 22 March 2020.  

Business Impact: If the company carries out an activity listed as essential by the State of Minas Gerais, such as industrial facilities, it must ensure its facilities remain in operation and that it adopts measures to prevent contamination of its workers with the COVID-19, such as systems of shift rotation, to reduce flows, contact and agglomeration of workers.

Analysis: COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020 establishes emergency measures on restriction and accessibility of services, and public and private goods in the state of Minas Gerais due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The Deliberation applies since 22 March 2020 and the suspension or restriction of services and goods will last while the state of public calamity due to the new coronavirus remains. Prohibitions Under the COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020, persons and companies are forbidden to: -hold events and meetings of any nature, including in-person excursions and courses, with more than 30 people; and -carry out abusive commercial practices, by producers and suppliers, in relation to goods or essential health, hygiene, and food services. Restrictions COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020 establishes that suppliers and commercial dealers must limit the quantity for the individual purchase of products essential to health, hygiene, and food in a way to avoid emptying the stock of those products. Suspension of services and activities The COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020 also provides that municipalities shall suspend the following services and activities: -public and private events of any nature, in closed or open spaces, with over 30 people; -activities in fairs; -shopping centers and galleries; -bars, restaurants, and cafes; -cinemas, clubs, fitness centers, nightclubs, party halls, theaters, concert halls, and aesthetic clinics; and -museums, libraries, and cultural centers. Concerning bars, restaurants, and cafes, the Deliberation does not specify whether it applies for onsite canteens or not. The suspension, however, does not apply to: -the internal operationalization activities of commercial establishments, provided that health measures and appropriate distance between people are respected; -commercial transactions through applications, internet, telephone, or similar instruments; -delivery of goods; -counter picking up of food, prohibited the consumption in the establishment itself; -food marketing fairs, including fruit and vegetables, provided that rotation criteria to be organized by the municipality are met in a way that agglomeration of people is avoided, and health and epidemiological rules for confronting the pandemic are observed. Other restrictions In addition, the COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020 establishes that municipalities must also require that commercial and industrial establishments remaining open: -adopt systems of shift rotation, to reduce flows, contact and agglomeration of workers; and -implement preventive contamination measures, providing hygiene material and guiding their employees to reinforce the importance and necessity of personal care, especially washing hands with aseptic products during work, and maintain workplaces and instruments clean. Municipalities must also require that commercial and service establishments remaining open establish exclusive schedules or sectors to serve the group of customers that: -are 60 years of age or older; -have chronic disease, such as diabetes, hypertension, heart or respiratory disease, cancer, and immunosuppressed diseases; and -are pregnant or breastfeeding. In addition, services or commercial establishments must prevent the agglomeration of people by organizing queues and observing the distance of at least 2 meters between consumers. Services and activities to remain functioning The COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 17 of 22 March 2020, with the amendments introduced by COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee Deliberation 21 of 26 March 2020, also prescribes that municipalities must ensure that the following services and activities, as well as their logistical systems of operation and supply chain, remain functioning: -medicine industry, pharmacies and drugstores; -manufacture, assembly, and distribution of clinical and hospital materials; -supermarkets, food supply centers, and similar; -production, distribution and marketing of fuels and by-products; -gas suppliers; -mechanical workshops and tire shops; -restaurants on roads or stations; -banks and similar; -industrial food chain; -agro-industrial activities; -services related to information technology and data processing, such as management, development, support and maintenance of hardware, software, hosting and connectivity; -construction; -industrial sectors; -laundries; -veterinary assistance and pet shops; -transport and delivery of cargo in general; and -call center service.

The establishments that remain open must adopt the following measures: -intensification of cleaning; -availability of aseptic products to clients; -maintenance of distance between consumers and control to avoid the agglomeration of people; and -dissemination of measures to prevent and to combat the coronavirus pandemic. Background news: the COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee The COVID-19 Extraordinary Committee was established by Decree 47.886 of 15 March 2020. It is named as the Management Committee for the Health Prevention and Contingency Plan of COVID-19 or Extraordinary Committee COVID-19, and has extraordinary deliberative competences to follow the epidemiological evolution of the new coronavirus. The Committee is also the responsible committee for adopting and establishing public health measures necessary for the prevention and control of contamination and treatment of affected people.

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BRAZIL

Companies must be aware of the bidding exemption for the acquisition of goods, services, and inputs to address the public health emergency of international importance due to the new coronavirus

Abstract: From 20 March 2020 and until the emergency public health situation of international importance due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19) remains, companies must be aware that bidding exemptions for governmental acquisition of goods, services, and inputs to address situation are established, as well as the prohibition to restrict the movement of workers that may affect the operation of public services and essential activities. NOTE: This provision is in force as of 20 March 2020.

Business Impact: Even though it does not establish direct requirements for the company, the company must be aware that the acquisition of goods, services, and inputs to address the public health emergency of international importance by the government is exempted from bidding. In this case, if the company is supplier of such electronic goods, services, and inputs, it can supply them to the government without bidding requirements, provided that other conditions for the exemption are met.

Analysis: The Provisional Measure 926 of 20 March 2020 amends Law 13.979 of 6 February 2020, to provide for procedures for the acquisition of goods, services, and inputs to deal with the public health emergency of international importance due to the new coronavirus (COVID-19). The amendments included by the Provisional Measure 926 of 20 March 2020 address travel restrictions, bidding exemption for the acquisition of goods, services, and inputs, and prohibits the restriction of workers that affects the operation of essential activities. Travel restrictions The Provisional Measures 926 of 20 March 2020 establishes exceptional and temporary restriction on travels by highways, ports, or airports for: -entering and leaving the country; and -interstate and intermunicipal locomotion. Bidding procedures The Provisional Measures 926 of 20 March 2020 exempts bidding requirements for the acquisition of goods, services (including engineering), and inputs intended to address the public health emergency of international importance due to the new coronavirus. Exceptionally, it is also possible to contract the supplier of goods, services, and inputs of companies without the right to participate in a bidding process or suspended to contract with the government, when it is proven to be the only supplier of the good or service to be acquired. The conditions for the exemption of bidding are: -occurrence of an emergency; -need for a prompt response to the emergency; -risk to the safety of persons, works, provision of services, equipment, and other goods, public or private; -the acquisition of goods without bidding is limited to only the necessary for the emergency; and -preliminary studies are conducted, when concerning common goods and services. In the contracting for the acquisition of goods, services and inputs necessary to face the emergency, the presentation of a simplified term of reference or a simplified basic project is admitted. Prohibition to restrict the movement of workers The Provisional Measures 926 of 20 March 2020 also prohibits the restriction on the movement of workers that may affect the operation of public services and essential activities. Public services and essential activities are established in Law 13.979 of 6 February 2020 are to be defined by a governmental act.

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SLOVAKIA

Companies are allowed to require their employees to work from home in times of state of emergency

Abstract: As of 4 April 2020, in times of state of emergency or extraordinary situation, employers are allowed to require employees to work from home, if the nature of the work allows for it. Furthermore, employers must accept the absence of employee during mandatory quarantine or isolation. 

Business Impact: During the state of emergency or extraordinary situations proclaimed by Government, a company is allowed to require employees to work from home, if that is possible with regard to nature of the work. Furthermore, the company must accept the absence of employees during mandatory quarantine or isolation.   

Analysis: Act No. 66/2020 Coll. amending Act No. 311/2001 Coll., Labor Code (the Amending Act), has been adopted on 2 April 2020 and amends provisions of Labor Code concerning situations of state emergency or extraordinary situations. It reacts on the current coronavirus situation. The Act is in force since 4 April 2020. Home Office According to the Amending Act, when measures preventing a spread of an infectious illness are in force, the employer is allowed to require employees to work from home, if that is possible concerning nature of the work. At the same time, an employee is entitled to carry out work from home, if that is possible concerning nature of the work, and if employer does not have reasonable objection against it. If the employer decides for home office of its employees, employees must be informed about such changes at least 2 days in advance, though they can agree on a shorter term together with the employee. The home office must last at least 1 week. Quarantine or isolation measures The employer must accept the absence of employee during mandatory quarantine or isolation. Employees are nevertheless not entitled to a salary substitute, unless stated otherwise in special provisions.

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ARGENTINA

BUENOS AIRES

Companies carrying out essential activities in Buenos Aires province must immediately elaborate a protocol for protecting their workers from COVID-19

Abstract: By 8 April 2020, companies carrying out essential activities in Buenos Aires province must elaborate an Occupational Health and Safety Protocol (Protocolo de Higiene y Salud en el Trabajo) for granting the protection of their workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. This follows from Resolution 135/2020 published by the provincial Ministry of Labor (Ministerio de Trabajo) on 6 April 2020. The protocol must have elements specified in the National regulations on COVID-19 and recommendations on prevention, such as those related to personal distance between workers, hygienic measures (for instance, hand washing and gel alcohol), and adequate ventilation of the workplace.

Business Impact: If the company carries out essential activities (such as food and pharmaceutical industries, operation of nuclear plants, the export of already elaborated products and the import of products that are considered essential for the economy) in Buenos Aires province during the complete lockdown until 12 April 2020, it must elaborate an Occupational Health and Safety Protocol (including, among others, indications regarding personal distancing, provision of hygienic products, and workplace ventilation) by 8 April 2020. In addition, the company must display 1 copy of the protocol in each of its facilities and communicated it to the corresponding Labor Union within 24 hours after having elaborated it.

Analysis: On 6 April 2020, the Ministry of Labor of Buenos Aires province published Resolution 135/2020 imposing on companies the obligation to develop an Occupational Health and Safety Protocol for protecting their workers from the contagion of COVID-19. Companies have until 8 April 2020 to elaborate the protocol. The obligation applies to companies carrying out essential activities in Buenos Aires, and the protocol must address the specific needs of workers, according to the workplace and their role. Essential activities, as listed in national Decree 297/2020, Administrative Decision 429/2020, and Administrative Decision 450/2020, include, among others:
food and pharmaceutical industries;
operation of nuclear plants;
the export of already elaborated products and the import of products that are considered essential for the economy; and
industries carrying out continuous production processes, to which the interruption of their operations would damage their production lines or machinery -subjected to authorization).
Although the obligation currently only applies to companies carrying out essential activities that are allowed to remain operational during the complete lockdown of the country until 12 April 2020, it is likely that in the near future, if the government decides to ease the complete lockdown by gradually allowing the operation of further activities after its mentioned deadline, companies carrying out those activities would also have to elaborate the protocol. Content of the protocol Following the national regulations, companies must prioritize teleworking whenever it is possible and reduce the number of workers in their facilities or offices to the minimum necessary. Moreover, the Decree indicates that companies must follow the recommendations included in Annex 2 of Resolution 29/2020 of the Superintendence of Labor Risk, which contains mainly indications for the health sector, but also general guidelines such as:
to avoid sharing elements of personal use (such as cups, cutlery, towels, and hygienic products);
to keep a distance of minimum 1 and a half meter between workers;
to wash hands regularly (especially after manipulating waste, before managing food, or after having been in contact with public surfaces); and
to stay at home under the minimum symptom of illness (such as fever, cough, and sneezing).
In addition, the Decree emphasizes on the following preventive measures:
provision of soap and gel alcohol;
ventilation of workplaces;
disinfection of objects and tools used frequently; and
interpersonal distancing.
Companies must also comply with specific sector regulations, in the case there exist. Additional obligations Companies must have at least 1 copy of the protocol in each of their facilities or offices and must be placed in a visible place. In addition, they are responsible for monitoring the good conditions of the protocol exhibited and replace them when they are no longer legible. Within 24 hours after having elaborated the protocol, companies must communicate the protocol to the Mixed Health, Safety and Security Committee (Comité Mixto de Salud, Higiene y Seguridad), if there is one, or, otherwise, to the relevant Labor Unions. and Safety Sanctions The failure of complying with the above-mentioned regulations for elaborating the protocol will be considered a serious infringement and, thus, sanctioned under Article 5 of Annex II of Law 12,415 approving the on Federal Labor Agreement, which includes the following sanctions:
an economic fine which can reach the value between 50% and 2000% of the minimum monthly salary (currently the value of the monthly minimum wage is of 16,875 Argentinean Pesos, around 260 USD) multiplied by the number of affected workers; and
in case of recurrence, the authority is entitled to close the facility or office for a maximum of 10 days.
Under no circumstances are the sanctions to affect workers' salaries, which companies must continue to pay. Resolution 135/2020, imposing on companies the obligation to elaborate an Occupational Health and Safety Protocol for protecting workers from COVID-19 contagion is available online in Spanish.

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FINLAND

Facilities have to comply with extended restrictions on border crossings

Abstract: On 7 April 2020, the Finnish Government (Valtioneuvosto) extended restrictions on border crossings for employees until 13 May 2020, to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19). Work across border must be reduced and only necessary cross-border work traffic (such as healthcare and rescue service professionals, transport personnel, and employees who, based on a permanent employment contract, work in the intrinsic travel-to-work area on the border with Sweden or Norway) is allowed with a certificate from the employer stating that the work is necessary.

Business Impact: Facilities must reduce cross-border travelling of employees until 13 May 2020, as only necessary cross-border work traffic (such as healthcare and rescue service professionals, transport personnel, and employees who, based on a permanent employment contract, work in the intrinsic travel-to-work area on the border with Sweden or Norway) is allowed with a certificate from the employer stating that the work is necessary.

Analysis: On 7 April 2020, the Finnish Government (Valtioneuvosto) adopted the decision on internal and external borders, tightening and extending the border traffic between Finland and other countries as well as regulations on quarantine until 13 May 2020. This is done to slow down the spread of the novel coronavirus epidemic (COVID-19). Cross-border work Only necessary cross-border work traffic and other necessary traffic (such as healthcare and rescue service professionals; transport personnel, and employees who, based on a permanent employment contract, work in the intrinsic travel-to-work area on the border with Sweden or Norway) remains permitted. However, the cross-border worker must have a certificate from the employer stating that the work is necessary. Necessary cross-border travelling is allowed to Estonia, Sweden and Norway. In addition, cross-border workers who, on a basis of permanent employment contract work on the Swedish or Norwegian side of the land border. A list of work tasks that are acute for the security of supply or critical to the operation of a certain industry, for which employee access to Finland must be ensured, has been issued by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment of Finland (Työ- ja elinkeinoministeriö). The governments previous recommendation for employees not to travel abroad remains applicable. Employees arriving from abroad will be provided safety instructions related to the coronavirus in advance. Employers are asked to find ways to reduce cross-border movement of employees, by for example accommodating employees at the place of employment. Employers must ensure, that employees are able to carry out their work while avoiding unnecessary close contact and following the guidelines given by the Finnish institute for health and welfare (Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos) on reducing the risk of infection. Quarantine As a general rule, all persons entering Finland must follow the instruction of Finnish health authorities (Suomen terveysviranomaisten) and remain in quarantine-like conditions for 14 days. It is the employer's responsibility to arrange transport from the point of entry into the country to the place of quarantine. Quarantine-like conditions are defined as staying at home or in any other type of accommodation for 14 days without any close contact with other people. Going to grocery stores or pharmacies must be avoided, unless absolutely necessary. Taking public transport is not allowed. Outdoor activities are allowed, without any close contact (distance of 1 metre). Finnish employees working in Sweden or Norway must be in quarantine-like condition while being in Finland. Employees may continue to go to work under the quarantine instructions. Employees coming to Finland from Sweden or Norway must follow the guidelines for reducing the risk of infections and remain in quarantine-like conditions, if possible, in Finland and at home. Finland is closely monitoring the development of the coronavirus epidemic and has prepared to further restrict border traffic if necessary.

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Summary

Keep in mind that the above information is constantly developing and that employers must continue to check local authorities for the most up to date information. If you want more information on our forecaster service, please contact us below.

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