As most of the world is seeing an escalating volume of COVID-19 cases, it had seemed that Asia had passed the peak with successes such as China, Hong Kong and Singapore seeing dramatic reductions of new cases. However, with travelers now hurrying to go back to Asia, these locations are seeing an increase in "imported" cases. People coming into these locations are being required to quarantine for 14 days. It was reported that new arrivals into Hong Kong are being made to wear wristbands that are connected to smartphone apps that track the wearer’s location.
Many are feeling that if this is not contained well at this point, all efforts put in place to avoid the spread will have been in vain. With no near cure for COVID-19 and the World Health Organization declaring it a pandemic, mobility teams worked hard to address the short-term needs and now are considering the long-term impact on their mobility programs in the region.
The COVID-19 crisis is having an impact on every part of businesses, including and maybe especially the talent mobility programs that are now severely restricted as we all attempt to “flatten the curve” and battle the pandemic. As companies devise ways to avoid lost revenue and pull out of this crisis, most expect decreases in extended business travelers, relocations and assignment activity. In the past, as challenging financial times hit, we saw companies reorganize and move key talent to needed locations. In this case, as the world hunkers down, social distancing plays out and we move further out into the future of work landscape, all we can say is …”we’ll see.”
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“If we do not impose tougher measures at this stage, our previous efforts to prevent the disease from spreading throughout these two months could be completely wasted,” Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said on Tuesday. For the past five days, China has reported more imported cases than local infections, with the mainland reporting zero domestic cases on Thursday for the first time since the outbreak began. There were 34 new infections, all from overseas.