The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, first identified in Wuhan, China, has spread beyond China's borders to dozens of countries, infecting tens of thousands of people and causing a mounting number of fatalities. In addition to the humanitarian and public health dimensions of the outbreak, the coronavirus crisis presents complex legal issues for companies, including employment-law, tort, contract, insurance, disclosure, and other considerations.
Companies should consider how to protect their employees and their productivity without running afoul of employment regulations, while at the same time making required disclosures, evaluating the extent to which insurance can mitigate losses, and protecting themselves from potential liability risks. Further, companies should consider whether disruptions to their or their counterparties' ability to fulfill contractual obligations are sufficient to trigger force majeure.
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