Travel restrictions and canceled flights continue to rise, brought on by the threat of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) worldwide. In a public document shared by Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong, the company outlined its four-tier escalation game plan against COVID-19.
In every stage of the plan, this will be in relation to the number of infected individuals with the coronavirus or how local governments respond to regular quarantines in areas within commuting distance of Coinbase offices.
Global markets, cryptocurrencies not exempted
CNN reported that both cryptocurrency and conventional industries are experiencing the lashes of the domino effect of the COVID-19. Bitcoin plunged to three percent in value following an outbreak of the virus in Italy.
Both crypto and traditional investors and most governments are fully aware that the stocks may worsen in the coming days.
Regarding how crypto exchanges could react to the virus spread, Coinbase, an American digital currency exchange, is bracing for the worst-case scenario.
Coinbase’s four response phases
The first of Coinbase’s four response phases is already in place at all of its offices except for Japan. As a result, more stringent sanitation measures have been implemented. A crisis management team has also been brought together and is continuously monitoring the spread of the virus and any associated risk.
In the event that there are 100 cases of “in-the-wild person-to-person virus transmission” occurring within commuting distance of any Coinbase office, the second phase will commence.
During this phase, Coinbase will implement strict measures including regular disinfecting of their offices and restricting offices to accept VIPs only. At the same time, it will provide its staff with the option to work from home.
Should the number of cases climb to 1,000 or more, the third phase will go into effect, during which Coinbase will either implement a “visitor health screening program” or bar visitors from its offices altogether. In addition, meal services at he impacted offices will be suspended.
The fourth phase is the worst-case scenario, of which Coinbase describes as “containment has failed, it’s going to be a wild ride.” Should the number of confirmed cases in impacted areas reach or exceed 5,000, all staff members in those areas will be required to work from home and “essential personnel” could potentially be relocated “outside the danger area.”
Where anti-COVID-19 measures will be imposed
At present, Coinbase offices are distributed throughout the U.S, Japan, Ireland, and the UK Phase 1 is currently being implemented in the company’s Japan office.
Currently, COVID-19 is present in 30 countries with the most recent outbreak in Italy. The spread of the virus was reported to have reached as far as Bahrain, Iran, South Korea, and Kuwait for the past few weeks.
Coinbase has already instituted business travel restrictions for Italy, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, however, despite the precautions, Armstrong is optimistic that the risk for most Coinbase staff of contracting coronavirus is low.
“Our expectation is that the measured mortality rate (once low-severity cases are included in the overall count) will fall significantly and that we’ll see limited transmission in the west, where there will be fewer high-density multi-generational housing situations,” he stressed.
The impact of COVID-19 on global trade
For the time being, the COVID-19 outbreak has been recognized as a public health emergency of international concern. This global virus has become the black swan of the new decade aside from the existing tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
These two crucial issues could adversely impact not only the Chinese businesses but also affect the global economy in general.
As expected, the effects of the coronavirus have drastically put a toll on China’s Q1 growth. Experts noted this could be extended until the Q2 if the outbreak lingers on until May 2020. This was like the SARS situation in 2003.
For China, the outbreak’s overall impact is seen to reduce the country’s real GDP growth for 2020 to about 5.4 percent.
Some economic research groups have made substantial forecast cuts for 2020 from 0.2 to 0.8 percentage points.
With the prolonged shutdowns and disruptions, global industrial production, trade flows, and logistics networks are experiencing significant slow downs and the situation continues to worsen almost daily.