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COVID-19 AND CONSTRUCTION LAW: COMPARING THE UK AND AUSTRALIAN RESPONSE

International Construction Law Review

COVID-19 AND CONSTRUCTION LAW: COMPARING THE UK AND AUSTRALIAN RESPONSE JENNIFER CHARLSON * Senior Lecturer, Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton (UK) REBECCA DICKSON ** Head of Legal, John Beever (AUST), a subsidiary of ACCIONA in Australia and New Zealand 1. INTRODUCTION On 5 January 2020, the World Health Organization (“WHO”) issued a “Disease Outbreak News” report, which relayed that its China Country Office had been informed of cases of pneumonia with an unknown cause in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China. At that time, there were 44 reported cases, 11 of which were severe. 1 By 9 January 2020, the WHO reported that a new (or novel) coronavirus was a possible pathogen causing the cluster of pneumonia cases. 2 By 11 March 2020, the WHO announced its assessment that Covid-19 could be characterised as a pandemic. 3 By 20 November 2020, there had been over 40 million Covid-19 cases, just over 1.1 million deaths worldwide, 4 and almost 30,000 cases and over 900 deaths in Australia. 5 There * MA (Oxon) MBA FHEA CEng FIET, Solicitor; Senior Lecturer, Architecture and the Built Environment, University of Wolverhampton (email: [email protected]). ** BA (Hons)/LLB (Hons), Monash University, Head of Legal, John Beever (AUST), a subsidiary of ACCIONA in Australia and New Zealand, and PhD Student, Faculty of Law, Monash University (Australia) (email: [email protected]). 1 World Health Organization, “Pneumonia of Unknown Cause”, Emergencies preparedness, response (Disease Outbreak News, 5 January 2020) https://www.who.int/csr/don/05-january-2020-pneumonia-of-unkown-cause-china/en/ (last accessed 30 November 2020). 2 World Health Organization, “WHO Statement regarding cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China”, News Detail (Statement|China, 9 January 2020) https://www.who.int/china/news/detail/09-01-2020-who-statement-regarding-cluster-of-pneumonia-cases-in-wuhan-china (last accessed 30 November 2020). 3 World Health Organization, “WHO Director-General’s opening remarks at the media briefing on Covid-19 – 11 March 2020”, Speeches Detail (WHO Director-General Speeches, 11 March 2020) https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19---11-march-2020 (last accessed 30 November 2020). 4 Worldometer, “Coronavirus Cases”, Coronavirus (Report, 20 October 2020) https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/?utm_campaign=homeAdvegas1? (last accessed 30 November 2020). 5 Australian Government Department of Health, “Coronavirus (Covid-19) current situation and case numbers”, Health alerts (Report, 20 October 2020) https://www.health.gov.au/news/health-alerts/novel-coronavirus-2019-ncov-health-alert/coronavirus-covid-19-current-situation-and-case-numbers (last accessed 30 November 2020). 6

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