The government has announced that Covid-19 is to be classed as a ‘notifiable’ disease in England, a formal classification required by many insurance companies if they are to pay out to businesses who suffer losses during the outbreak.

A Department of Health and Social Care Spokesperson said: “We want to ensure any steps taken to protect the public during the Covid-19 outbreak are proportionate and do not come at an unnecessary social or economic cost.

“To mitigate the impact on businesses, we will register Covid-19 as a notifiable disease. This will help companies seek compensation through their insurance policies in the event of any cancellations they may have to make as a result of the spread of the virus.”

Concerned companies should check their insurance policy to see if they will be covered if their business is disrupted by the coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the Association of British Insurers (ABI) said: “Standard business insurance policies are designed and priced to cover standard risks, not those that are very unlikely, such as the effects of Covid-19.”

They continued: “Businesses who are concerned about this should check the scope of their cover, and speak to their insurance adviser or broker. It may be possible to buy consequential business interruption cover for notifiable diseases as an extension to a business insurance policy, subject to any policy  terms and  conditions.”