Since March 11, when the World Health Organization (WHO) officially categorised the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as a pandemic, it has become clear that the world is immensely struggling with the outbreak. It has even led to a massive slowdown in economic activity, causing volatility and turbulence in the financial markets. Therefore, apart from being a threat to our health, COVID-19 has proven that it is and will continue to be a threat to the world economy and businesses.

Governments throughout the world have put in place measures to promote social distancing and restrict the transmission of the disease. The UK is also starting to see a tightening of approach, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson saying that everyone should avoid going to pubs, clubs and theatres and, if possible, work from home, as a part of a range of new stringent measures.

Businesses are also working on creating a safe and healthy work environment for their employees, customers and business partners. In this time of coronavirus, this includes certain health related measures. With growing data protection concerns among businesses, this alert looks at the data protection issues at an EU and UK level and seeks to provide answers to a number of legal questions we have been asked in the past few days as well as give guidance on whether or not certain measures comply with applicable laws in the UK. Despite many EU countries issuing guidance, the spokesperson for the EU Data Protection Board issued a helpful statement on the virus which provides an overview of the EU approach.