How is the Deadly Coronavirus Affecting Transport and Industry
blog cover image with title How Might The Deadly coronavirus affect transport and industry

What is the Coronavirus?

With the Coronavirus looming large in the headlines, we take a brief look at how this contagious disease is affecting Industry and Transport networks. 

The Coronavirus is common throughout the world and usually found in animals. It is rare that it is transferred to humans but it has happened before – SARS was an example of a recent coronavirus mutation. This “novel” Coronavirus outbreak was believed to have been transferred to a human by an animal at a market in Wuhan, China.

It has now spread to over 10 countries (with a third case confirmed in the UK yesterday) and the world’s governments have galvanised forces to counter the spread. 

So how are transport and industry being affected?

Transport of Coronavirus samples

Researchers will be frantically working to find solutions to halt the spread of the contagious virus. This will include movement of samples around the country as they are taken for testing and analysis.

The UK Government has issued guidance around the handling of Coronavirus samples, including reference to the “WHO [World Health Organisation] Guidance on regulations for the transport of infectious substances 2019–2020”. This guide refers to a whole host of regulations which apply to the transport industry in the event of a virus outbreak, underpinned by the “European Agreement concerning the International Carriage of Dangerous Goods by Road (ADR)” created in 1957.

The guide acknowledges that while the entire transport industry is affected by the regulations, only a small percent will be in the Healthcare or Medical field. This means that most transport or freight agencies will not be familiar with specific industry processes. Carrier-specific guidance is offered if needed in an emergency.

image of coronavirus biological microscopic specimen

Preventing the spread of Coronavirus

Preventing the spread of Coronavirus is a huge challenge in today’s highly mobile and very small world. It was well documented as far back as the 14th century that it was expanding trade routes that carried the Black Death across Europe. Later in the 1500s smallpox was taken to America in the same way. 

There are strict restrictions in place, with Wuhan at the centre, to prevent unnecessary movement in China. reports that “various businesses have directed their employees to work from home if they show signs of feeling unwell, or if they are returning from cities that are subject to transport restrictions or lock-down, or if they have had interaction with friends / family / relatives traveling from affected areas.”

Curfews are in place and whole towns have been ‘disinfected’ by spray chemicals. Advice has been issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for those who are symptomatic and not hospitalised. Advice includes home isolation and wearing facemasks – with the recent discovery that coughs and sneezes spread the virus this is particularly important.

How is Industry being affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic?

A few years ago, The Guardian predicted that “the next pandemic would create a shock with the potential not only to overburden health systems but to shut down travel networks, close down work.” 

A few days ago, The Financial Times reported that “Companies from luxury retailers to airlines and banks are reeling as the disease accelerates.”

Almost every industry imaginable is affected, from both a supply and demand perspective. With curfews in China and restrictions on transport of goods in and out of the area, purchasing of luxury imports is down. Travel restrictions within the area mean that local tourism is affected, while of course, shipment of goods OUT of China and the Pan-Asian Supply district is subject to controls.

With Chinese New Year timing and the recent effects of the Hong Kong protests, it couldn’t really have come at a worse time.

Jason Ader (chief executive of SpringOwl Asset Management) speaking to FT did report one Industry making hay while the sun shines: “When people in China are forced to stay at home they go online. We have seen a massive surge in online gaming as a result of the virus”. We also understand that facemask suppliers are doing well… (Investors take note!)

photo of people in Asian city walking down the street wearing facemasks.

How is the Transport Industry in the UK being affected by the virus?

At the moment, there isn’t a huge impact.

The UK government has issued guidance on how the country is protecting public health during the outbreak. It outlines what steps you must take to prevent further spread of the Coronavirus. Currently, all travellers from Wuhan have been accounted for, with 3 cases confirmed and other passengers now outside of the incubation period. 

This means that the risk of spreading within the UK is currently ‘moderate’. Advice is to remain quarantined for two weeks after you return from an infected area, staying indoors and not using public transport.

Aside from the restrictions on travel FROM China and affected areas, there are no specific restrictions in place in the UK at the moment. Speaking to Wired, David Heymann (professor of Infectious Disease Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine) stated that any specific advice will be decided by the UK Government, based on evidence from a number of sources. “They’ll be looking at guidance on patient epidemiology and other issues with the WHO, and then making their own guidelines based on this information.”

So our trucks are still happily roaming the high roads and byroads of the UK, with no restrictions in force. If you’d like to find out how we can help your brand go viral (irresistible, sorry!), please do drop us an email or message via our social media platforms. 


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Take care

The DrivenMedia Team