Government’s Coronavirus Action Plan and Overseas Travel

March 6, 2020

The Department of Health & Social Care published the “Coronavirus: action plan – a guide to what you can expect across the UK”.  In this article, Greenwoods GRM LLP discuss key points raised in the plan and further advise on workplace travel policies and risk assessments following our article last month.


The document provides information on the government’s plans to contain the spread of the virus, how a strategy will develop if the virus spreads further and what people can do to protect themselves and their families. The plan also includes information on the government’s 4-stage strategy to: (i) contain, (ii) delay, (iii) research and (iv) mitigate. The UK is currently focusing on containing the spread – the first stage of the plan.

It sets out advice for how the public should respond in each stage, including what to expect if the outbreak becomes a pandemic.

Actions if the virus spreads to pandemic levels could include:
– Police, fire and rescue services to carry out business continuity plans in response to staff shortages
– Support for businesses facing short-term cash flow issues because of the virus to minimise the impact on the economy – see our Corporate and Commercial team’s recent article about the potential impact of the coronavirus infecting your supply chain and force majeure clauses in a contract last month
– Emergency registration of health professionals who have recently retired
– Introducing emergency indemnity coverage for health care workers to provide care or diagnostic services and relaxation of rules around staff to pupil ratios in education and childcare settings
– Every government department to have a ministerial lead on the virus to help oversee government response to the virus.

Business travel
If a travel destination is listed on the Foreign and Commonwealth travel advice webpage, businesses are unlikely to get their money back for the abortive trips and it will be a loss to the business. If travel is critical, make sure you check the position with your insurer, check the travel advice webpage above as well as guidance issued by Public Health England. On return from overseas travel, employees should also check the current advice in place in respect of self-isolation.

If you would like advice on drafting an effective travel policy and risk assessment or in light of the action plan, then do get in touch.

Kirstie Goulder, Associate, Disputes