Coronavirus and Business – updated 5 March 2020 – Plus the WHO advice.

5th March 2020.

James Salmon, Operations Director.

We re-publish below the latest news for small businesses on the Coronavirus plus the advice from the World Health Organsiation on how to protect you and your employees from the spread of the Coronavirus.

5th March update

The virus outbreak has created a damaging one-two punch for the global economy, not only hitting supply as factories shut down but also weighing heavily on demand as consumers stop shopping and traveling.

For businesses importing from the affected countries and for businesses connected to the travel and tourism sectors it is devestating as the collapse of Flybie shows.

However businesses in almost all sectors are being affected as they limit or cancel non essential travel and meetings and also encourage staff to stay away and self isolate if they have even the smallest of sniffles.

The Federal Reserve and Bank of Canada have both moved to cut rates and European investors are now glued to their screens watching for any hints of action from the region’s monetary policy officials or indeed coordinated actions from central banks and governments.

The Bank of England says it stands ready to work with the Treasury to shore up the economy and the European Central Bank has made similar statements, which its researchers think need to be combined with a shift in fiscal rules.

Italy has announced that schools would be closed nationwide until March 15 in the strongest effort thus far in Europe to contain the spread of the coronavirus, with the government also looking to  ban on public and cultural events – even italian football has seen games cancelled and the threat that all future games will be played behind closed doors.

The European Commission has said that both Italy and France are at risk of slipping into recession and  the International Monetary Fund  sees “more dire” possibilities ahead for the global economy and has set up a $50 billion aid package. It says $10bn will be available to the lowest-income countries, at zero interest.

The World Bank pledged another $12bn, with priority for the poor.

The US government  has agreed a $7.8 billion emergency spending package to respond to the outbreak.

The World Health Organisation calculated the disease’s global mortality rate to be 3.4%.

But the global spread of Wuhan coronavirus is still there, accelerating. It remains to be seen if cases in South Korea (5766) is beginning to top out while there is no sign of containment in Iran (2922). Situation in Europe is worrying, spreading fast among Italy (3089), France (285), Germany (262), Spain (228), Swiss (93), UK (87), Norway (59).

One sign of some relief? Despite talk of people stock piling, food prices have dipped from a five-year high.

Bailey: BoE will need to support firms

Addressing MPs on the Treasury Select Committee, incoming Bank of England (BoE) governor Andrew Bailey has said the Bank would need to play a role in providing finance for firms who are impacted by the coronavirus outbreak, saying: “It’s reasonable to expect we are going to collectively have to supply some supply chain finance in the not too distant future to ensure the shocks from the virus are not damaging to many firms … in particular to small firms.”

Philip Aldrick in the Times looks at measures that may help protect small firms from the threats posed by the outbreak, with EY head of tax Chris Sanger saying Britain could use “time to pay” guidance to allow businesses to roll up tax bills and pay them late, with it suggested business rates could be deferred for six months.

Coronavirus sick pay boost

Statutory sick pay is to be made available from the first day of illness under emergency legislation to help tackle the coronavirus outbreak.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We will take every step that we can to ensure that businesses are protected, that the economy remains strong and that no-one, whether employed or self-employed, whatever the status of their employment, is penalised for doing the right thing”.

Current laws dictate workers are not entitled to minimum statutory sick pay of £94.25 a week until they have taken four or more days in a row off work.

Exports dip amid coronavirus worries

Coronavirus is starting to hit the UK economy, with exports to Asia dipping in February.

The IHS Markit/CIPS export index was down last month, from 50.4 to 47.7 on an index where a score of above 50 indicates growth on the month and a figure below 50 shows contraction.

Growth in the services sector, which accounts for four-fifths of private sector activity, slowed slightly as the PMI slipped from 53.9 to 53.2. The all-sector PMI rose to 53 in February, up from 52.8 in January to its highest level since September 2018.

Chris Williamson at IHS Markit said that survey data suggested the British economy will grow by 0.2% in the first three months of this year, after stagnating at the end of 2019, but warned that a downturn could be on the cards, saying: “Whether this expansion can be sustained in coming months is starting to look increasingly at risk.”

“The survey data leaves policymakers juggling between current signs of both improved economic growth and rising prices, while risks to the outlook have clearly intensified,” he added.

4th March 2020 Government’s coronavirus plan: Case-by-case mitigation over tax

The Government has published a 28-page coronavirus action plan warning that workplaces could have one in five of their staff off sick at any one time.

The Prime Minister’s action plan states: “In a stretching scenario, it is possible that up to one fifth of employees may be absent from work during peak weeks. This may vary for individual businesses.”

In a bid to support businesses there will be a “case-by-case” mitigation for small firms unable to pay their taxes or other duties due to cash flow issues. This will be run through HMRC’s “Time to Pay” system.

Coronavirus prompts US rate cut

The US central bank has cut interest rates in response to concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus.

The Fed lowered the benchmark rate by 50 basis points to a range of 1% to 1.25%.

With shares falling as the cut seemingly spooked investors worried about the outbreak, George Lagarias at Mazars commented: “Rate cuts don’t stop viruses or mitigate demand and supply damage.”

Carney: Policymaker response to coronavirus ‘powerful and timely’

Bank of England (BoE) governor Mark Carney says policymakers around the world are working on a “powerful and timely” response to the potential economic hit from the coronavirus.

With the outbreak prompting fears of a global recession, Mr Carney said the lines of communication between central banks are “wide open”, adding that it is “reasonable to expect a response that reflects a combination of fiscal measures and central bank initiatives.”

Comparing the potential economic damage to that seen in the financial crisis, Mr Carney said: “The 2007-2008 crisis caused some lasting scarring effects on the economy. The prospect with this situation is that we will have disruption, not destruction.”

On the shock coronavirus may have on the UK economy, he suggested it could be “large but temporary”. Meanwhile, Mr Carney has suggested the BoE would be prepared to cut interest ra tes and let banks use “rainy day” funds to soften the impact of the outbreak on the economy

3rd March 2020 – Just 1 in 3 SMEs has coronavirus plan

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has warned that just a third of small businesses have a plan in place to deal with disruption that may arise from the coronavirus outbreak.

The FSB has urged firms to consider how they would handle disruption to supply chains, employee absences, issues with cashflow and the impact of travel restrictions.

It also advised firms to check insurance policies, warning that they “may not include any protection if your business suffers due to an outbreak of disease, regardless of circumstance”.

Mark Carney warns coronavirus will hit the UK economy

Bank of England governor Mark Carney has warned that coronavirus is likely to slow economic activity, with it “hard to be precise about the magnitude and, very importantly, the duration”.

Global growth may halve

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has warned that an escalation in the coronavirus outbreak could cut global economic growth in half and plunge several countries into recession this year.

The OECD said that global GDP growth could plunge this year to as little as 1.5%, almost half the 2.9% rate it forecast before the outbreak took hold.

The reduction in demand and world trade could “push several economies into recession, including Japan and the euro area,” the OECD’s report added.

Manufacturing grows but coronavirus disrupts supply chain

IHS Markit has reported that whilst manufacturing continued to grow in February, supply chains have been hit by the coronavirus outbreak.

The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers’ index measured 51.7 last month, well above the 50 mark separating growth from contraction but slightly weaker than the previous “flash” reading of 51.9 for February, after supply chain disruptions emerged.

However, the index showed orders increasing at the fastest pace in eleven months and business optimism hitting a nine-month high.

Coronavirus threat may require Budget plan B

Experts have suggested that Chancellor Rishi Sunak will have to rethink his Budget over concerns that the spread of the coronavirus will trigger a global economic downturn.

Paul Johnson, director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies, said economic forecasts drawn up by the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) may not paint a true reflection of the climate, saying: “Whether the OBR has had time to include the likely impact of the virus into its forecasts or not, the Chancellor will need to say how it creates further uncertainty.”

Former Treasury minister David Gauke comments: “Given the uncertainties, the OBR is likely to qualify its economic forecasts,” adding that the “health crisis … makes all short-term economic forecasts a matter of guesswork.”

Lord Wood, who worked on six budgets as an adviser to Gordon Brown, offers that the Treasury “may have to rip up the plans its bu dget has been based on and hastily assemble a new plan B, to ensure the Chancellor’s statement on 11 March fits the situation we are in.”

Markets expected to fall further

World stock markets, which have already been hit by the coronavirus outbreak, are expected to fall further this week.

This comes as the first surveys of China’s economic health since the outbreak show factory output has plunged to record lows and the service sectors have contracted.

Global stock markets fell 11% last week, marking the worst seven-day period for stocks since the 2008 financial crash. The MSCI all-country index shows that markets globally lost about £3.9trn of value last week.

World Health Organisation Advice

Basic protective measures against the new coronavirus

Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak, available on the WHO website and through your national and local public health authority.

COVID-19 is still affecting mostly people in China with some outbreaks in other countries. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover, but it can be more severe for others. Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

Wash your hands frequently

Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.

Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

Maintain social distancing

Maintain at least 1 metre (3 feet) distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.

Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.

Practice respiratory hygiene

Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.

Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19.

Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.


Protection measures for persons who are in or have recently visited (past 14 days) areas where COVID-19 is spreading

  • Follow the guidance outlined above.
  • Stay at home if you begin to feel unwell, even with mild symptoms such as headache and slight runny nose, until you recover. Why? Avoiding contact with others and visits to medical facilities will allow these facilities to operate more effectively and help protect you and others from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.
  • If you develop fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical advice promptly as this may be due to a respiratory infection or other serious condition. Call in advance and tell your provider of any recent travel or contact with travelers. Why? Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also help to prevent possible spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) advice for the public: Myth busters

Are hand dryers effective in killing the new coronavirus?

No. Hand dryers are not effective in killing the 2019-nCoV. To protect yourself against the new coronavirus, you should frequently clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water. Once your hands are cleaned, you should dry them thoroughly by using paper towels or a warm air dryer.

Can an ultraviolet disinfection lamp kill the new coronavirus?

UV lamps should not be used to sterilize hands or other areas of skin as UV radiation can cause skin irritation

How effective are thermal scanners in detecting people infected with the new coronavirus?

Thermal scanners are effective in detecting people who have developed a fever (i.e. have a higher than normal body temperature) because of infection with the new coronavirus.

However, they cannot detect people who are infected but are not yet sick with fever. This is because it takes between 2 and 10 days before people who are infected become sick and develop a fever.

Can spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body kill the new coronavirus?

No. Spraying alcohol or chlorine all over your body will not kill viruses that have already entered your body. Spraying such substances can be harmful to clothes or mucous membranes (i.e. eyes, mouth). Be aware that both alcohol and chlorine can be useful to disinfect surfaces, but they need to be used under appropriate recommendations.

Is it safe to receive a letter or a package from China?

Yes, it is safe. People receiving packages from China are not at risk of contracting the new coronavirus. From previous analysis, we know coronaviruses do not survive long on objects, such as letters or packages.

Can pets at home spread the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV)?

At present, there is no evidence that companion animals/pets such as dogs or cats can be infected with the new coronavirus. However, it is always a good idea to wash your hands with soap and water after contact with pets. This protects you against various common bacteria such as E.coli and Salmonella that can pass between pets and humans.

Do vaccines against pneumonia protect you against the new coronavirus?

No. Vaccines against pneumonia, such as pneumococcal vaccine and Haemophilus influenza type B (Hib) vaccine, do not provide protection against the new coronavirus.

The virus is so new and different that it needs its own vaccine. Researchers are trying to develop a vaccine against 2019-nCoV, and WHO is supporting their efforts.

Although these vaccines are not effective against 2019-nCoV, vaccination against respiratory illnesses is highly recommended to protect your health.

Can regularly rinsing your nose with saline help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

No. There is no evidence that regularly rinsing the nose with saline has protected people from infection with the new coronavirus.

There is some limited evidence that regularly rinsing nose with saline can help people recover more quickly from the common cold. However, regularly rinsing the nose has not been shown to prevent respiratory infections.

Can eating garlic help prevent infection with the new coronavirus?

Garlic is a healthy food that may have some antimicrobial properties. However, there is no evidence from the current outbreak that eating garlic has protected people from the new coronavirus.

Does putting on sesame oil block the new coronavirus from entering the body?

No. Sesame oil does not kill the new coronavirus. There are some chemical disinfectants that can kill the 2019-nCoV on surfaces. These include bleach/chlorine-based disinfectants, either solvents, 75% ethanol, peracetic acid and chloroform.

However, they have little or no impact on the virus if you put them on the skin or under your nose. It can even be dangerous to put these chemicals on your skin.

Does the new coronavirus affect older people, or are younger people also susceptible?

People of all ages can be infected by the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV). Older people, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease) appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the virus.

WHO advises people of all ages to take steps to protect themselves from the virus, for example by following good hand hygiene and good respiratory hygiene.

Are antibiotics effective in preventing and treating the new coronavirus?

No, antibiotics do not work against viruses, only bacteria.

The new coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is a virus and, therefore, antibiotics should not be used as a means of prevention or treatment.

However, if you are hospitalized for the 2019-nCoV, you may receive antibiotics because bacterial co-infection is possible.

Are there any specific medicines to prevent or treat the new coronavirus?

To date, there is no specific medicine recommended to prevent or treat the new coronavirus (2019-nCoV).

However, those infected with the virus should receive appropriate care to relieve and treat symptoms, and those with severe illness should receive optimized supportive care. Some specific treatments are under investigation, and will be tested through clinical trials. WHO is helping to accelerate research and development efforts with a range or partners.

Do you sell on credit?

With pressures on the cash flow it is essential that you stay on top of the credit limits you grant customers and watch carefully for any late payments.

Those customers will look for the easiest option  to boost their cash-flow. Don’t let it be you.

You can’t just assume your customers can and will pay you eventually, no matter how big their name is.

It is essential to have credit management systems in place to monitor and check your customers credit worthiness.

It is also best practice to use a trusted third party like CPA to make sure you are paid on time by customers, no matter how good a name they have.

About CPA

The Credit Protection Association can help!

Formed in 1914, CPA has been providing credit management services to SMEs for over 100 years.

At the Credit Protection Association, we provide first class credit information that can help you avoid being over extended to customers who are at risk. Our monitoring service can flag up warning signs long before the end, giving you the chance to adjust and reduce your exposure. We provide recommended credit limits and credit scores on a traffic light system and can help you set appropriate credit policies for your customers.

We regularly publish lists of the latest insolvencies but by then it is too late. Our credit reports however predict approximately 96% of company insolvencies long before they arrive.

Companies in trouble usually have very bad cash flow and they try to deal with it by delaying payment to their suppliers, increasing your exposure to them.

If you supply on credit, help us help you identify the risks.

Why use a third party collector?

As a third party collector, we can also get your payments prioritised over those who are not as hot on collections. When your customer receives a letter from the Credit Protection Association regarding their outstanding account, they are going to want to get that resolved as a priority. Our overdue account recovery service can get your unpaid invoices to the top of their “to do” list and get your invoice paid.

Over the years we have collected billions in overdue invoices for our customers.

Our debt recovery and credit management services give our members the financial freedom needed to grow and prosper, while our new Late Payment Compensation department could unlock hidden potential and offer the compensation needed to springboard your business to success.

You might be hesitant about contacting a debt collection agency. What are they going to be like?

Can they help your particular type of business?

There is no need for concern. CPA are courteous, helpful and very probably have had direct experience of working with your type of business.

Debt collection agencies are not all alike.

Success lies in both recovering money and keeping customers happy. The Credit Protection Association was founded in 1914 and  has helped tens of thousands of UK businesses to collect outstanding payments and reduce the risk of incurring bad debt. We believe that creditors deserve to be paid for the work or goods they have supplied but we fully understand the need to maintain
the best possible relationship with customers!

At The Credit Protection Association, we provide solutions, advice and back-up in all areas relating to the supply of services or goods on account. Client-members receive everything they need from a single source to reduce debtor days and write-offs.

The Credit Protection Association has helped has assisted tens of thousands of UK businesses with their credit control requirements, since the First World War.

We are polite, firm and efficient when it comes to recovering outstanding debt.

“We have used CPA for a number of years now. The website is easy to navigate around with lots of helpful reports. The staff are always at hand and very friendly. CPA has  helped us reduce our debt over the years and keep track of potential issues with our customers.”
~ CPA client in Buckinghamshire

“The service from CPA has proved to be everything that you said it would be. We have already seen a huge benefit. We have had a number of overdue accounts paid promptly and directly to us. It is also a huge weight off our mind to know that once we have passed an overdue payment over to you, you take care of everything whilst keeping us informed.
~ Credit Controller client in Warrington

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections


Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

CPA is passionate about late payment

The Credit Protection Association has been protecting smaller firms against poor payment practices for over 100 years.

We are extremely passionate about breaking the late payment culture that holds back the UK economy and threatens many SMEs with cash flow difficulties being the single biggest killer of Britain’s small businesses.

If you were regularly paid late we can help. Those former customers used you to boost their own cashflow, regularly paying you late.

As a result you had extra costs, you had the distraction of having to chase payment, you had opportunity costs because your capital was tied up in their late invoices.

Under little used legislation, you are entitled to compensation for those late payments.

Now you can boost your own cash-flow.

CPA can help unearth the those hidden treasures.

We have the technology to reveal the compensation you are due and we have the extensive experience and expertise to then turn those claims into cash.

Yes, CPA can help you boost your business cash-flow.

Don’t let your bankers control you, contact CPA today.

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

Read our blog here on how to crack down on the late payment culture.

Read our blog here on how to give late payers the slap they need.

The “Why” of the late payment culture.

New PM should walk the walk and back small firms over late payments

Paying late is “crack cocaine” to big business.

Late payment culture risks “spiraling out of control”

visit our late payment compensation page

See our full blog and FAQ on late payment compensation

Do you realise you could be sitting on a fortune?

Late payments often result in a cash flow crunch and leave SMEs in need of a cash injection.

If you sold B2B on credit then there may be a hidden source of capital you can call on.

If you fancy an bit of extra cash in your business, rather than jumping through hoops with your bank, you could look to uncover the resources from an unexpected source within your own business.

Not many are aware but there could be a hidden fortune within your business, sitting there, just waiting to be uncovered and released.

We can help you uncover the pile of gold, you didn’t even know you were sitting on.

If you trade with other businesses and were often paid late then you could be entitled to significant compensation.

Under little known and under-utilised legislation your business could be due huge amounts in compensation that you didn’t even know about.

Let’s be clear – this is not a way to weaken any customer relationships you value. It is one that identifies who’s been paying late and then recover the potentially significant sums in compensation using Late Payment Legislation from businesses where the relationship has already ended.

You can pick and choose who you want us to follow up – but once we’ve agreed which companies you’d like to pursue compensation from it’s a fast process and there’s no financial outlay to you whatsoever. My team at CPA put its expertise to work to recover the compensation due and fight late payment culture.

That compensation could provide the cash boost your business needed.

But don’t delay, that compensation evaporates if not claimed within six years of the late payment.

How can CPA help?

CPA has developed a unique technology to dig into your accounting records and discover the cash injection you are due by means of compensation. The software does all the hard work. Our software interacts over the cloud with over 300 different software packages, working directly with your accounts package, just so long as it’s stored on a computer.

We recognise that most companies do not have the resources to spend time on the identification and calculation of Late Payment Compensation. Our service can produce an Analyses within just a few days with (usually) less than 30 mins of co-operation from our clients. We work directly with over 300 accounting packages but can also work with bespoke accounts packages. Indeed, speed is essential as the oldest invoices may fall foul of the 6-year time limit.

Once the Sales Ledger Analyses is made available to clients, all that is required is that management decide which commercially sensitive ex-customers to remove from the list and return it to us.

CPA then uses its years of collection experience to explain and recover the Late Payment Compensation Claims. Clients do not handle any part of the recovery process as our team will take all communications from the companies against who the claims has been made. Often, it’s simply a case of explaining the legislation, sometimes we have to go all the way and enforce the legislation through the courts.

The result is that we are realising clients’ claims worth tens and sometimes hundreds of thousands of pounds which, of course, is pure net profit.  You may also be among the recipients of “hundreds of thousands of pounds” should you elect to take advantage of our services.

We do the work, you receive the cash.

If you have supplied goods and services to businesses on credit and were regularly paid late then you could be due significant sums in late payment compensation.

We are talking to companies and unearthing claims in the hundreds of thousands from former business customers who paid them late. Large business customers who abused their power to inflict unfair and sometimes illegal payment practices.

We are helping business owners  who are looking to boost the returns from their business before they retire. We are helping businesses who have lost major clients after years of loyal service to get properly compensated for systematic late payment. We are helping companies that were looking to close down, who looked insolvent and finding that cash injection they need to avoid insolvency.

Those former clients who regularly paid you late can finally be made to pay.

Ready to speak to an advisor?

For help or advice on credit management, entirely without obligation.

Call us today

0330 053 9263

The Credit Protection Association is a credit management company established in 1914. If you supply goods or services on credit then we can help you!

The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections

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The Credit Protection Association – Prompting Punctual Payments – Ethical, Effective, Efficient, Economical collections