The emergence of a human pandemic influenza, with high attack and fatality rates, could have a substantial impact on individuals, on the global economy, and on financial systems throughout the world.
If the pandemic is severe, the economic impact is likely to be significant, though predictions are subject to a high degree of uncertainty.
Economic disruptions on the supply side would come directly from high absenteeism, as people may be asked to stay at home, or may choose to do so to care for sick relatives or because of fear of being exposed themselves.
There may also be disruptions to transportation, trade, payment systems, and major utilities, exposing some financially vulnerable enterprises to the risk of bankruptcy.
Moreover, demand could contract sharply, with consumer spending falling and investment being put on hold. Financial repercussions could further exacerbate the economic impact.
Pandemics may come in waves, spreading over weeks or months. Some waves may appear mild only to be followed by another, more severe outbreak. Business continuity plans should, therefore, not focus only on a single, short-lived event.
Countries confronting pandemics could face major disruption to the operations and services of their financial system.
Business continuity plans are intended to mitigate this risk, by ensuring the continuity of critical financial infrastructure and functions of individual institutions.
Effective business continuity management plans cover policies, standards, and procedures for ensuring that specified operations can be maintained or recovered in a timely fashion in the event of a disruption.