While most large corporations and government departments have their own crisis management teams, not many make their preparation plans for problematic situations public knowledge. However, in the light of the spread of the coronavirus now known as COVID-19, cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase have published online their escalation plan for “…external consumption in case helpful to other companies.”
The Coinbase strategy is based around ensuring the well-being of their staff and contractors as well as the continued operability of their own offices. Each level of the plan activates depending on certain criteria around the number of reported infected cases in close proximity to a Coinbase office or a government enforced quarantine area.
For example, within the response level framework, phase one will come into effect offering employees the choice to work from home should more than 100 cases of person-to-person virus transmissions occur outside of a hospital setting and within commuting radius of a Coinbase office.
Coinbase admit that in the unlikely event the phase three of their plan should come to be activated then infected cases have escalated considerably and local virus “…containment has failed, it’s going to be wild.”
Having accurate, up-to-date infection rates is key for any crisis plan of this nature and Coinbase state they are using multiple sources to gather this information including the “…World Health Organisation (WHO), Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, local public health offices and retained consultants.”
Such widespread intelligence gathering is necessary as since the outbreak of COVID-19 statistical data has been a contentious area of debate with some elements of mainstream media questioning how the infected rates are determined.
Despite the drastic quarantine measures seen in China, which reportedly has seen more than half of the country’s population under lockdown, the World Health Organisation has steered away from calling the spread of the virus a pandemic.
𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘴, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘧𝘦𝘢𝘳.
𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘪𝘮𝘦 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘴𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦, 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘳𝘶𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘴.
— UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) February 26, 2020
World Bank Pandemic Bonds
As Coinbase have correctly identified, health issues on this current scale impact economically upon any society effected and cascade through the vast network of global supply chains.
This has been a long-standing concern of those with governance responsibilities and is probably best reflected in the 2017 issuance of half a billion dollars worth of bonds and derivatives in the World Bank’s Pandemic Bonds said to provide a pandemic emergency financing facility.
Unique in construct, these bonds were marketed to private investors with guaranteed high rates of return but participants would forfeit their funds if any of the six official pandemics, including a coronavirus, should manifest by the bonds maturity date of July 2020.