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As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across the world, and governments and health authorities work tirelessly to defeat it, major economies, including China, are experiencing mounting pressure as consumer spending, production and investment are drastically curtailed due to virus-related risks.

Subsequently many companies are therefore also facing significant and urgent business and legal challenges such as:

  • How to renegotiate or terminate contracts where the activity in question is no longer commercially viable
  • Available options should businesses have difficulties in fulfilling their existing contractual obligations because of business disruptions
  • Invoking force majeure clauses
  • Ensuring steps being taken to safeguard employees are also meeting key obligations under relevant laws
  • Options available to companies when core supply chains are disrupted
  • Renegotiating lending terms or applying for bridging or emergency funding, should it be necessary

While the situation is unprecedented, many of the answers lie in long-standing general laws and regulations, including those related to public health and work safety, as well as emergency measures recently issued by governments to specifically deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Baker McKenzie teams across the world are working with clients, regulators and various authorities to produce a variety of client updates and hosting webinars to assist decision makers, including in-house legal teams, on how to navigate this incredibly challenging period.

Please continue to check in here as our Coronavirus Resource Center will be regularly updated.

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Author

Cynthia Tang is the head of the Dispute Resolution Group for the Firm’s Hong Kong and China offices. She has over 25 years of experience in Hong Kong and Asia. Chambers Asia Pacific, PLC Which Lawyer? and Asia Pacific Legal 500 have ranked her as one of the leading lawyers in the Financial Services/Regulatory field for 5 consecutive years. She previously served on a number of committees in the Securities and Futures Commission and is currently appointed by the Hong Kong Government as a Member of the Standing Committee on Company Law Reform and Disciplinary Panel A of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants. She is also a China-Appointed Attesting Officer.

Author

Roberta Chan is a special counsel in Baker & McKenzie´s Hong Kong office. Ms. Chan’s practice focuses on all aspects of commercial and corporate litigation including company and shareholder disputes, contract and tort claims. She also has extensive experience in insurance and employment matters, including policy interpretation and defense of claims involving contractors’ risks, public liability, employees’ compensation, professional indemnity and other specialist insurance policies.

Author

Brian Chia heads the Corporate, Commercial & Securities Practice Group of Wong & Partners. He has been ranked as a Tier 1 practitioner in the area of Corporate/M&A in Chambers Asia Pacific since 2011 and in Chambers Global since 2013. He has been recognised as a leading lawyer in the Corporate and M&A practice by Asia Pacific Legal 500 and IFLR1000 since 2011, and by Asialaw Profiles since 2008. Mr. Chia has also been nominated for the "Asian Legal Business Client Choice Hot 75 Survey – Asia’s Best 75 lawyers" by leading in-house counsels across the Asian region, and most recently won the Client Choice – International 2014 for M&A in Malaysia. Mr. Chia played a pivotal role in building and leading the practice, which was recognised as the Malaysia Deal Firm of the Year by Asian Legal Business in 2012, 2013 and 2015, among other accolades.

Author

Johan Botes is a partner and heads Baker McKenzie’s Employment Law Practice Group in Johannesburg. He focuses on employment law and labour relations and advises clients on industrial relations, employment negotiations, labour dispute resolution and change management. He also advises companies on organizational restructuring. Prior to joining Baker McKenzie, Mr. Botes was a director and partner at a leading South African law firm.

Author

Susan Eandi is the head of Baker McKenzie's Global Employment and Labor Law practice group for North America, and chair of the California Labor & Employment practice group. She speaks regularly for organizations including ACC, Bloomberg, and M&A Counsel. Susan has been published extensively in various external legal publications in addition to handbooks/magazines published by the Firm. Susan has been recognized as a leader in employment law by The Daily Journal, Legal 500, PLC and is a Chambers ranked attorney.

Author

Jonathan Isaacs heads Baker McKenzie's China Employment Practice. Mr. Isaacs is listed as a leading lawyer for China employment law in various legal publications and has shared insights on labor and employment issues with many publications and media outlets, including The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, LA Times, Reuters, The Economist Intelligence Unit, Voice of America, RTHK, LA Times and Fortune Magazine. He has also co-authored the leading treatise on Chinese employment law in English, Employment Law & Practice in China. He is admitted as a lawyer in the state of New York, USA.

Author

Kana Itabashi is a member of the Corporate / Mergers & Acquisitions, Environmental and Labor / Employment practice groups in the Firm’s Tokyo office and has over ten years of legal experience. From 2007 to 2009, she was seconded to the principal investment department of a Japanese securities company, and engaged in a variety of investment matters including corporate rehabilitation, private equity investment, emission trading and non-performing loan investments. Ms. Itabashi is a native Japanese speaker and is also fluent in English.

Author

Rico Chan is the Head of Baker McKenzie's China Real Estate Group and Co-head of its Asia Real Estate Group. He is also Head of the Firm's China Greater Bay Area Development. Rico has 30 years of legal experience in commercial transactions in China, particularly transactions and projects in the real estate, hotel and construction sectors. He joined the Firm in 1989 and was a resident partner of the Firm's Beijing office from 2000 to 2004. Rico has consistently been recognized as a leading lawyer in his areas of practice by Chambers Asia Pacific and Legal 500 Asia Pacific.