COVID-19 Updates

Hungary’s Response on Covid-19


Want To Track It All?


On March 11th, the Hungarian Government declared a state of emergency in the country. An initial curfew was declared on March 27th for two weeks, but on April 9th, The Prime Minister extended the curfew indefinitely (More info). The curfew allows people to leave their homes only for essential activities such as work, professional obligations, economic, agricultural and forestry activities, access to health care, and shopping and running errands regarding basic needs.” Grocery stores, drug stores, pharmacies, and markets will be open. People will be required to keep one and a half meters apart. The curfew was, however, lifted in Budapest starting May 18th. People are still required to take precautionary measures such as covering their face in shops and on public transport or keeping a distance of one and a half meters (More info).

The National Center for Public Health has published certain recommendations for workplaces to ensure safe return to work of employees. Only healthy people should return to the office, special attention should be paid to disinfectant hand washing, surface disinfection and distance. Employers should also ensure more frequent cleaning of the premises. The workplace needs to be disinfected and cleaned more often, and computers, keyboards, and switches need to be disinfected more often. Whenever possible, the possibility should be created for employees to keep a distance of 1.5-2 meters from each other. In addition, frequent ventilation of the workplace is an important measure to prevent the spread of the virus (See here).

 

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
- https://magyarkozlony.hu/
- https://koronavirus.gov.hu/

 

Read more...

South Africa’s COVID-19 Exposure


Want To Track It All?


On 23 March 2020, the President of South Africa announced a nationwide lock-down. According to the order, individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strict circumstances, such as to seek medical care, buy food and other essential supplies, or collect a social grant. Additionally, all businesses must be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations, health care providers and companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods, and medical supplies (See here).

The head of an institution must determine essential services to be performed and must determine the essential staff who will perform those services (See Here). If a person rendering essential services is unable to travel to and from his/her place of employment, the employer must make the necessary transport arrangements: Provided that no more than 50% of the licensed capacity of the vehicle or vessel is exceeded and all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and the limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 are adhered to (See Here).

Employers and businesses should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
- National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) COVID-19 page (See Here)
- Department of Home Affairs (See Here)

Read more...

The European Union and COVID-19


Want To Track It All? 


The European Chemicals Agency and the European Commission are supporting Member States and companies to apply derogations from the normal authorisation requirement for biocidal products. This may alleviate the difficulties companies and Member State authorities may be facing during the global coronavirus pandemic, and this would also allow healthcare professionals and European citizens to have access to more disinfectants. Companies looking to quickly access the market with their disinfectants that contain an already approved active substance, are able to apply for permission to the relevant national authority by relying on Article 55(1) of the Biocidal Products Regulation (BPR). This provision allows national authorities to provide time-limited derogations from the standard product authorisation requirements in situations where there is a threat to public health (See Here).

Additionally, the European Commission has published a guidance document on Shipments of Waste in the EU in the context of the COVID-19 crisis (See Here). The Commission recognises that companies dealing with waste are providing an essential service to society to protect health and the environment and to keep the circular economy moving. The Commission, therefore, has provided guidance to Member State Competent Authorities, economic operators and stakeholders in order to prevent and reduce obstacles to shipments. The guidance document clarifies that waste shipments have access to the newly established "green lanes" for goods transport. It also recommended using electronic rather than paper procedures whereever if this is possible for complying with the documentation and notification requirements of the EU Waste Shipment Regulation. Furthermore, it is enouraged to use electronic reports and they should be accepted by competent authorities in all member states, according to the Commission.

Furthermore, the European Center for Disease Prevention has published a guidance on Social Distancing measures that all individuals are encouraged to implement in their daily lives. Some of those recommendations may apply to businesses in respect of, for example, restriction of mass gatherings, and staying at home measures.

-ECHA COVID-19 updates (https://echa.europa.eu/covid-19)
-European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (https://www.ecdc.europa.eu/en/novel-coronavirus-china)
-European Commission Coronavirus response (https://ec.europa.eu/info/live-work-travel-eu/health/coronavirus-response_en)

Read more...

China’s Exposure to COVID -19 What’s next?


Want To Track It All?


 

China As a Country:

On February 25, 2020, the National Health Commission published the Notice on Scientifically and Accurately Conducting a Good Job in the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic. (http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-02/25/content_5483024.htm) The Notice provides a series of technical specifications on the prevention and control of COVID-19 epidemic, including the Technical Specification on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic in Offices and Public Places under Annex 5 and the Technical Specification on the Prevention and Control of COVID-19 Epidemic in Industrial and Construction Companies under Annex 6. Companies shall follow the instructions under the Technical Specifications to prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as conducting a temperature check-up for each employee every day and ensuring the ventilation in the workplaces. If there is any suspected patient in the workplace, the company shall take corresponding prevention and control measures and report to the local disease control department immediately. These requirements are reemphasized under the technical guidelines on furthering the prevention and control of COVID-19 for key places, key units, and key populations published on April 9, 2020 (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/b90add4a70d042308b8c3d4276ec76a7.shtml).

In order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in offices through the air conditioner and ventilation systems, companies shall comply with the cleaning and disinfection requirements under the Guidelines for the Operation and Management of Air-conditioning and Ventilation Systems in Offices and Public Places during COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.gov.cn/xinwen/2020-02/13/content_5478015.htm)

In most parts of China, companies have resumed the business operation from the end of February. To better support the resumption of work and production, the National Development and Reform Commission issued a series of policies, including reducing electricity costs of enterprises (https://www.ndrc.gov.cn/xwdt/xwfb/202002/t20200222_1220994.html) and multiple supporting measures for foreign invested companies (https://www.ndrc.gov.cn/xxgk/zcfb/tz/202003/t20200311_1222902.html).

On March 17, 2020, the State Council published the Guideline for the Public to Wear Masks Correctly (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202003/0a472cc09e744144883db6a74fe6e760.shtml). Employers should ensure the employees in offices, meeting rooms, factories etc. wear masks correctly in accordance with the Guideline.

On March 20, 2020, the State Council published an Implementation Opinion to Promote the Employment Responding to the Impacts of COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2020-03/20/content_5493574.htm), including promoting vocational training.

On March 26, 2020, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Immigration Administration announced that the entry into China by foreign nationals holding valid visas or residence permits will be temporarily suspended starting March 28, 2020. (https://www.fmprc.gov.cn/web/wjbxw_673019/t1761858.shtml) Companies may reconsider the travel plan for employees. If necessary, the foreign employee may apply for a visa at Chinese embassies or consulates because of necessary economic and trade activities. Visas issued after the publication of the announcement will not be affected.

On March 27, 2020, the Maritime Safety Administration updated the Guidance to provide recommendations for the prevention and control of COVID-19 in ships and to provide personal protection for crews (http://xxgk.mot.gov.cn/jigou/haishi/202003/P020200329422788999003.pdf). In addition, in order to further promote the resumption of work and production at ports and on ships after the COVID-19 epidemic, from March 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the port construction fee shall be exempted and the ship oil pollution compensation fund shall be reduced by half (http://xxgk.mot.gov.cn/jigou/cwsjs/202003/t20200313_3345793.html).

Recently, the State Council published the Notice on strengthening the detection of COVID-19 in 12 cities, including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Tianjin, Shijiazhuang, Taiyuan and others (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/9c1b7e72557447f68927423d3012f168.shtml) to avoid imported cases and the COVID-19 Management Rules for Asymptomatic Patients (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/9d3edaaebb9a4c369f42c61039be35fe.shtml) to prevent people from being infected by asymptomatic patients.

On April 27, 2020, the State Council issued a Notice on the special inspection work on the implementation of the prevention and control measures for the resumption of production. (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/zhengcwj/202004/119a73b832354f1babfc70efae335e4f.shtml) Enterprises in specific industries or with more than 20 workers will be subject to the inspection from local governments.

On May 8, 2020, the Guiding Opinion on the Normalization of COVID-19 Prevention and Control was published to emphasize the precautionary measures and the prevention and control of COVID-19 for key places, key units, and key populations. (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2020-05/08/content_5509896.htm)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

- National Health Commission (http://www.nhc.gov.cn/xcs/xxgzbd/gzbd_index.shtml)

- the State Council (http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/zuixin.htm)

- COVID info (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48545/u26aw64640.html)

- Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

 

 

Shanghai

On February 11, 2020, Shanghai People's Government published the Notice on Further Strict Implementation of Various Epidemic Prevention and Control Measures (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48545/u26aw63661.html). Under the Notice, 14-day quarantine is strictly implemented for those returning to Shanghai from COVID-19 epidemic key areas. The enterprise shall take the primary responsibility for the prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak in the resumption of production and work. For the labor-intensive enterprises with employees or workers returning back to Shanghai, more stringent management measures shall be taken. If the enterprise can provide places for the quarantine, the employees shall be quarantined in the provided places. If the enterprise is unable to provide places for the quarantine and the employees have no residence place in Shanghai, they shall be quarantined in a centralized point provided by the district. The enterprise or the individual shall bear certain expenses. In addition, enterprises with collective dormitories shall earnestly perform their main responsibility for the strict prevention and control of COVID-19 outbreak.

To reduce the burden on small and medium enterprises (SMEs) caused by the COVID-19 epidemic and to promote the resumption of work, the Shanghai Municipal Commission of Economy and Informatization published a Notice regarding the Measures on Responding to the Impact of the Epidemic and Further Promote the Stable and Healthy Development of SMEs. (http://shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw2319/nw12344/u26aw64424.html) In addition, Shanghai Human Resources and Social Security Bureau and Shanghai Municipal Financial Bureau specify that if the large enterprises with independent training capabilities or the SMEs without training capabilities conducted online or vocational training for employees during shutdown period (including overall and partial shutdowns) caused by the COVID-19 epidemic, online or vocational employee training qualify for a subsidy from the government. (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48614/nw48615/u21aw1424020.html)

In the Government Press Conference held on March 22, 2020, the spokesman emphasizes that Shanghai Customs implements comprehensive centralized control and closed management of all personnel entering from airports, ports, and seaports. The personnel from 24 key countries are subject to 100% landing quarantine, 100% temperature monitoring, and 100% health declaration. (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/nw48546/u21aw1434222.html)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

- Shanghai People's Government (http://www.shanghai.gov.cn/nw2/nw2314/nw32419/nw48516/index.html)

 

 

Wuhan

On January 29, 2020, Wuhan Municipal Health Commission issued the Interim Measures for Prevention and Control of COVID-19 in Wuhan (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020020209339). The enterprise shall not conceal, postpone, or misrepresent the COVID-19 epidemic situation, or instruct others to conceal, postpone, or misreport the facts. In the Decision to Win the Defense Battle of Wuhan against COVID-19 Epidemic (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/showDetail/2020021909676), enterprises must take the responsibility for the prevention and control work of COVID-19, report any suspected cases in a timely manner, and take corresponding measures.

On February 22, 2020, Wuhan Municipal People's Government published a Notice regarding the Measures on Responding to the Impact of the Epidemic and Supporting the Operation and Development of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/szfxxgkml/fggw/bgtwj/202002/t20200222_305392.html) Among others, for the SMEs that rent state-owned assets for business use, rent is waived for three months and halved from the fourth to sixth months. From January 1, 2020, to June 30, 2020, the prices of industrial water and natural gas were reduced by 10%. The supply of electricity, water, and gas to SMEs for production and operation won't be stopped even if the SMEs owe the fees. The vocational training for employees during the shutdown period and recovery period qualifies for a subsidy from the government.

The employers shall ensure that all employees wear masks in the workplace in accordance with the Notice to Implement Measures on Wearing Masks in Public Places (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/szfxxgkml/fggw/gfxwj/202001/t20200123_304117.html)

In the Conference to Promote the Resumption of Work and Production held on March 22, 2020, the mayor emphasizes that several prevention and control mechanisms shall be put in place. The employer shall ensure the personal protection of employees and the disinfection of the working environment. The employer shall also investigate and eliminate the hidden hazards in the workplace. (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/2019_web/whyw/202003/t20200323_307281.html)

On March 25, 2020, Wuhan Municipal People's Government published a Notice on Several Measures to Promote Stable Development and Resumption of Work and Production in Wuhan. (http://www.wh.gov.cn/hbgovinfo/zwgk_8265/tzgg/202003/t20200326_307580.html) The Notice specifies 21 supportive measures for enterprises, including a zero-interest loan to small and medium-sized enterprises for a year, value-added tax exemption, and reduction on water and gas prices.

Starting from April 8, 2020, all traffic control checkpoints of Wuhan will be removed. The operation of railways, civil aviation, water transportation, highways, and buses will be restored in an orderly manner (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/gzxxgzbd/zxtb/202004/t20200407_2207131.shtml).

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

- Wuhan Municipal People's Government (http://www.wuhan.gov.cn/)

- Wuhan Municipal Health Commission (http://wjw.wuhan.gov.cn/front/web/ztzl/801)

- Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

 

 

Beijing

On March 16, 2020, Beijing People's Government issued a Notice on Several Measures to Conduct a Good Job in Epidemic Prevention and Control and to Guarantee the Orderly Resumption of Work and Production. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengcefagui/202003/t20200315_1706857.html). Employers should allow employees to work from home. A list of telecommunication products are provided without charges. In the meantime, Beijing Market Supervision Administration also published a Notice to support resumption of work and production. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/zhengcefagui/202003/t20200323_1726886.html) Among others, the validation date of production and operation license, as well as the validation date of measurement, certification and special equipment certificate which expires during the COVID-19 epidemic period will be extended to/from one month to six months after the outbreak is solved. Enterprises and social organizations are encouraged to formulate guidance or standards relating to epidemic prevention and control or resumption of work and production. To support the small, medium and micro enterprises in response to the epidemic, among others, the rent for March and April for specified enterprises shall be reduced or suspended. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202004/t20200417_1814532.html)

 

On April 18, 2020, the Notice on the normalization of COVID-19 prevention and control in the resumption of work and production (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202004/t20200418_1846059.html) was published. If the enterprise ensure the employees to have a working distance of not less than 1 meter per person and an area of ​​not less than 2.5 square meters, it can arrange the employees to return to work normally.

In addition, the local departments will strengthen the inspections on the implementation of epidemic prevention and control measures taken by the industrial enterprises during the COVID-19 epidemic period. (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202003/t20200306_1681633.html) (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/zhengce/gfxwj/202003/t20200306_1681627.html)

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

- Beijing People's Government (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/ywdt/zwzt/yqfk/)

- Relevant laws and regulations (http://www.beijing.gov.cn/so/zcdh/fcfg)

 

 

 

Hubei

The work and production in Hubei Province have resumed gradually from March 11, 2020. The Hubei People's Government published a Notice on Several Policies and Measures to Promote Economic and Social Development in Hubei Provinces. (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zfwj/ezf/202003/t20200312_2180269.shtml) The Notice provides multiple financial supports to small and medium enterprises.

On March 27, 2020, the Hubei People's Government published Several Measures to Stablize Employment In Response to the COVID-19 Epidemic (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zfwj/ezbf/202003/t20200327_2195351.shtml).

Recently, the Department of Water Resources of Hubei Province issued a document (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/xgfyyqfkzszq/hygq/202003/t20200320_2186146.shtml) to further support the resumption of work. Under the document, the construction unit of major production and construction projects may resume the projects by making a commitment to implement soil and water protection measures appropriately to the local water resources department through internet or mail, as long as the construction unit completes the approval procedures for the soil and water protection measures within six months after the COVID-19 epidemic.

Starting from March 25, 2020, the travel restrictions for all cities and counties in Hubei Province, except for Wuhan, will be lifted. People will be allowed to leave the province if they have a green QR code (the indicator of people's health status) on their mobile phones (http://www.cnhubei.com/content/2020-03/24/content_12889380.html).

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:

- Hubei People's Government (http://www.hubei.gov.cn/zhuanti/2020/xgfyyqfkzszq/)

- Relevant laws and regulations (https://book.yunzhan365.com/sarx/ywen/mobile/index.html)

Read more...

Hong Kong’s Responses to COVID-19


Want To Track It All?


The Center for Health Protection published a series of guidelines on the prevention and control of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) (See Here). Among others, the Health Advice on Prevention of Coronavirus disease in Workplace (Interim) specifies the recommended precautionary measures for the employers to take at their workplaces to minimize the risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19. The Guide On Formulating Business Continuity Plan specifies the emergency preparedness and response requirements for the employers. In addition, the Prevention and Control of Disease (Requirements and Directions) (Business and Premises) Regulation (Cap. 599F) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599F) specifies the requirements for the companies engaged in the catering business and other entertainment businesses.

Maintaining social distancing is key to delay the spread of COVID-19. The Government published the Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation (Cap.599G) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599G) to prohibit any group gathering of more than 4 persons in any public place. The Regulation enters into force on March 29, 2020.

The public are strongly urged to avoid non-essential travel outside Hong Kong. If it is unavoidable to travel to countries / areas outside Hong Kong, they should put on a surgical mask and continue to do so for 14 days upon their return to Hong Kong (See Here).

Starting from March 25, 2020, all non-Hong Kong residents arriving by air from overseas countries or regions are not allowed to enter Hong Kong. In addition, non-Hong Kong residents from the Mainland, Macau and Taiwan are not allowed to enter Hong Kong if they have visited overseas countries or regions in the past 14 days. (See Here) All people entering Hong Kong from the Mainland, Taiwan, and Macau are required to undergo compulsory quarantine for 14 days upon their arrival. (See Here)

From March 19, 2020, the Enhanced Laboratory Surveillance Programme, which provides a free testing service for COVID-19, will be further extended to cover asymptomatic persons under the Compulsory Quarantine of Persons Arriving at Hong Kong from Foreign Places Regulation (Cap. 599E) (https://www.elegislation.gov.hk/hk/cap599E) , with an aim of identifying cases of COVID-19 early in order to minimize the risk of community transmission.

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
- Department of Health (https://www.chp.gov.hk/en/resources/464/102466.html)
- The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (https://www.coronavirus.gov.hk/eng/index.html)

 

Read more...

Mexico’s Response to COVID-19


Want To Track It All?


Photo taken in Mexico City, Mexico

On March 26th, the Mexican Government restricted all economic activities except for the essential activities which include the provision of medical services and supplies, grocery stores and grocery delivery services, restaurant delivery and carryout services, assurance of public safety, maintenance of fundamental economic functions and government social programs, as well as the work in critical infrastructure. On April 16, the Government extended restrictions on non-essential economic activities in most municipalities until May 30. On June 1, the Mexican government will start plans to phase in certain non-essential economic activities in some states and municipalities under certain circumstances. Curfews and movement restrictions on non-essential activities are in place in certain municipalities and states, and citizens may be required to wear face masks.

On March 24, 2020, a Decree of the Secretary of Health was published on preventive measures that must be implemented to mitigate and control the health risks of the disease caused by COVID-19. Article 2 (a) of the Decree requires employers of both the public and private sectors to implement preventive measures that ensure that workers 65 years of age and older, and that belong to certain risk groups, including "pregnant or lactating women, children under 5 years of age, people with disabilities, people with chronic non-communicable diseases, or with any disease or pharmacological treatment that generates suppression of the immune system", are not present in workplaces to prevent them from being exposed to COVID-19. Based on these provisions, employers should consider implementing these measures and should ensure that workers in high-risk groups be sent home from work (See here).

 

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
-Government of Mexico (https://coronavirus.gob.mx/)

 

Read more...

Austria’s response to COVID-19


What To Track It All?


Starting May 1st, the COVID-19 Relaxation Ordinance requires one meter distance between people in public places (More info). In addition, covering the face is imposed in closed public places such as shops or other business premises. Also, business operators must ensure 10 m² per customer in the premises. Any public event including cultural and sportive events that gathers more than 10 people is prohibited. Entry to Austria is still restricted and is only permitted at certain border crossings and is subject to certain conditions such as having a medical certificate (See here).

The Government has published support measures for companies, including a hardship fund of 1 billion euros for small businesses, EPUs, non-profit organizations, and freelancers (See here). Employees who cannot work remotely could, to a certain extent, be forced to use their vacation entitlements and time off credits.

A 'COVID 19 crisis management fund' was created on March 15th to provide the federal ministries with financial resources for taking the necessary measures against Covid-19 (More info). These measures may include those that are necessary to stimulate the economy. The Law also gives employers, in the event of the company’s closure, the option to offer employees a limited remuneration, as well as time off to take care of their children or other dependents. The Government has also provided exceptions in certain sectors to weekend and holiday rest (More info). 

 

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
- Official Journal (https://www.ris.bka.gv.at/Bgbl-Auth/)
- Recommendations and guidelines (https://www.sozialministerium.at/Informationen-zum-Coronavirus/Coronavirus---Fachinformationen.html)

 

 

Read more...

Luxembourg’s COVID-19 Exposure


Want To Track It All?


Luxembourg city, the capital of Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, view of the Old Town and Grund

On March 18, Luxembourg issued the prohibition of movement of all persons except under certain specific reasons, such as, going grocery shopping, going to work, and when seeking health care services. All cultural, social, festive, sportive and recreational activities are suspended. Company canteens are closed, unless a distance of two meters between every two people is respected. The Government has also prohibited all commercial activities, except for those listed in a Regulation (See here). The activities that are allowed to operate include businesses that mainly sell hygiene products, washing and sanitary equipment, financial and insurance institutions, maintenance activities required for safety reasons, and businesses which mainly sell food products.

The government has taken measures that provide for a mechanism that allows the governing bodies of any company or legal entity to hold their meetings, in particular meetings of shareholders and boards of directors, without requiring the physical presence of their members (See here). This mechanism will include the use of distance voting; or written circular resolutions; or videoconferencing; or any other means of telecommunication.

In addition, the time limits for the submission of reports for the attention of the Environment Agency are suspended until further notice (See here). In particular, this applies to the following: classified establishments; the installation of waste treatment facilities, etc.; the installation of polluting industrial establishments, etc.; establishments concerned by the SEVESO regulations.

For the duration of the Covid-19 crisis and due to the increased activity in core sectors with essential activities and activities that have been authorized by the government, businesses concerned can refuse all applications for leave or cancel each leave already approved (More info). In addition, these businesses may, subject to certain conditions, submit their application to the Ministry of Labor, Employment and the Social and Solidarity Economy for an increase in the working hours of their employees to a maximum of 12 hours per day or 60 hours per week (See here; and here).

Also during the state of crisis, the 26-week period of protection against dismissal in the event of incapacity for work is suspended. Thus, sick leave during the state of crisis is not taken into account in the 26-week protection period. For this reason, the protection period cannot expire during the state of crisis. The remaining proportion of the 26 weeks at the beginning of the state of crisis will resume the day after the end of the state of crisis (More info).

The Minister of Labor imposes new obligations for employers who intend to resume their activities (More info). Employers are now required to limit the number of employees that are, or likely to be, exposed to risks due to the pandemic; inform and train employees on potential risks and precautionary measures to take; display signs to indicate the risks and the preventive measures that are taken; properly set up workstations and other areas of the workplace; and provide employees with individual and collective protection equipment and products such as masks, sanitizers, and soap. Employers are also required to ensure that their employees follow social distancing rules by keeping 2 meters distance, and if this is not possible, to wear a mask or other equipment that covers the nose and the mouth.

A platform has been set up to match supply and demand for personal protective equipment that are produced and supplied in Luxembourg (More info). The purpose of this platform is to gather information on raw materials, finished and semi-finished products, and skills and services relating to protective masks, visors, plastic protective screens, aprons, and disinfectants. It includes an “offre” section which allows suppliers and manufacturers to submit and display their offers. There is also a “Demande” section which allows the community to indicate their specific needs in terms of PPE.

 

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information: - http://legilux.public.lu/ - https://guichet.public.lu/en/entreprises.html

Read more...

Ireland’s Reaction to COVID-19


Want to track it all?


On March 24 2020, the Government updated public health guidelines on COVID-19 that provide for the closure of all non-essential businesses, and that state that individuals should stay at home except to go to work, care for others, and essential shopping (See: https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/a7e66d-latest-guidance-on-public-health-measures/).

Currently, there are public health measures in place in Ireland to prevent the spread of COVID-19 until April 12 2020. These measures require everyone in Ireland to stay at home, except for certain exceptions that have been provided, which included going to and from work where the work is considered an essential service.

The Health and Safety Authority has published answers for employers and employees to frequently asked questions concerning working from home temporarily during the outbreak of COVID-19 (See: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/faq%E2%80%99s_for_employers_and_employees_in_relation_to_home-working_on_a_temporary_basis_covid-19_.html). Based on this information, employers should consider making working from home a priority for employees, but if this is no possible, measures should be taken to prevent the risk of exposure of employees to COVID-19 in the workplace.

Additionally, the Health and Safety Authority has also published advice and guidance for employers concerning the health risk for employees during the outbreak of COVID-19 (See: https://www.hsa.ie/eng/news_events_media/news/news_and_articles/covid_19_%E2%80%93_advice_for_employers.html). Employers should consider conducting a risk assessment in the workplace to assess the risk of expsosure to COVID-19, and to implement the necessary control measures to mitigate the risks of spreading the virus.

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
-Government of Ireland (https://www.gov.ie/en/campaigns/c36c85-covid-19-coronavirus/)
-Health and Safety Authority (https://www.hsa.ie/eng/)
-Department of Health (https://www.gov.ie/en/publication/472f64-covid-19-coronavirus-guidance-and-advice/)
-Health Protection Surveillance Centre (https://www.hpsc.ie/a-z/respiratory/coronavirus/novelcoronavirus/guidance/guidancefornon-clinicalsettings/)

Read more...

COVID-19 Affecting Japan


Want to track it all?


The government established the COVID-19 Control Center and determined a basic policy for the control of the COVID-19 pandemic (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/content/10900000/000599698.pdf)  and a basic countermeasure policy for the control of COVID-19 infection (https://corona.go.jp/expert-meeting/pdf/kihon_h_0514.pdf). Among others, enterprises shall provide accurate and easy-to-understand information and calls to the public. As a countermeasure against COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare introduced subsidies to support teleworking and special leave systems in small and medium enterprises (See Here).

On April 6, 2020, the Guidance to the Businesses affected by COVID-19 was updated to include the information on the employment adjustment subsidy (See Here). On April 25, 2020, the enterprises that may apply for the employment adjustment subsidies are expanded under the Special Implementation Measures (See Here). The application procedure is simplified on May 6, 2020 (See Here).

The Ministry of Environment published a series of documents regarding the appropriate disposal of wastes contaminated with COVID-19 (See Here). Enterprises shall take infection prevention measures before disposing of the contaminated waste properly.

On April 7, 2020, the Head of the Novel Coronavirus Response Headquarters declared a state of emergency (See Here). The business operators in essential industries are required to continue their business during the period.

On May 25, 2020, the lifting of the state of emergency was declared (See Here). Based on the assessment of the situation of infection and the risk of further infection in respective regions, the request for refraining from leaving home as well as restrictions of holding events and using facilities will be gradually eased approximately every three weeks.

All nationals arriving from all regions are required to self-quarantine for 14 days after their arrival to Japan and to refrain from using public transportation. In addition, Japan publishes a list of countries in which the foreign national will be subject to denial of landing if the person stayed within 14 days before the landing (More Info).

Employers should continue to check with relevant authorities for the latest information:
- Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (https://www.mhlw.go.jp/stf/seisakunitsuite/bunya/0000164708_00001.html)
- Ministry of Environment (http://www.env.go.jp/saigai/novel_coronavirus_2020.html)
- Ministry of Economy, Trade, and Industry (https://www.meti.go.jp/covid-19/index.html)

Read more...