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2019nCoV continues to spread from China and now many disease experts are increasingly thinking that it is likely to become a pandemic that circumnavigates the globe. The prospect is daunting. The good news is that although the disease is spreading, it is still primarily in China and the fatality rate remains low – about 2 percent (much better than SARS 9 percent or MERS 34 percent).

A pandemic — an ongoing epidemic on two or more continents — will certainly have consequences to the global economy and cause major disruptions to supply chains. What does your company use that comes from China? You need to know that quickly as whatever it might be could soon be in short supply. The next question would be do you have alternate suppliers?

So, keeping all of that in mind, how is your 2019nCoV planning going? I hope you are doing these ten things right now:

  1. Working on your infectious disease and pandemic plan – don’t have one? Get one!
  2. Developing regular SitStat reports for your crisis management and executive team.
  3. Assessing impact to the company supply chains.
  4. Communicating with your key stakeholders about your plans and status.
  5. Educating employees on smart health habits (hopefully you were doing this for flu season anyway) such as hand-washing, cough hygiene and staying home while sick.
  6. Marketing the importance of your company emergency notification system (ENS) to get out timely information to employees and while you are at it, evaluating the contact information in the ENS for accurate employee data.
  7. Review your BIA and BCPs through the lens of an infectious disease. These should be closely aligned with your infectious disease and pandemic plan
  8. Check in with all critical third-party vendors – what is going on with them?
  9. Inventory your personal protective equipment (PPE) – masks, gloves, hand sanitizers and first aid supplies
  10. Increase your information security screening – scammers and hackers are using this virus outbreak to build off of peoples anxieties. There are fake websites, phishing emails with links for “more information” on 2019nCoV and hoaxes. Be on the alert.

This is just a few of the things that you should be doing…all of this should be in your infectious disease and pandemic plan. Need help? Check out our website for planning resources.


Regina Phelps

Regina Phelps is an internationally recognized expert in the field of crisis management, continuity planning, pandemic and infectious disease plans and exercise design. She is the founder of EMS Solutions Inc, (EMSS) and since 1982, EMSS has provided consultation and speaking services to clients in five continents. Phelps is frequent speaker at international continuity conferences and is consistently rated one of the top-rated speakers in her field. She is known for her approachable and entertaining speaking style and her ability to take complex topics and break them into easily digestible and understandable nuggets. She is the author of four books, all available on Amazon: • Crisis Management: How to Develop a Powerful Program • Cyberbreach: What if your defenses fail? Designing an exercise to map a ready strategy • Emergency Management Exercises: From Response to Recovery • Emergency Management Exercises: From Response to Recovery Instructors Guide

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