The International Bar Association (IBA) has postponed two conferences which were due to take place in Tokyo this week in response to the coronavirus outbreak. It has advised members not to attend its other conferences if they are feeling unwell.

The IBA’s inaugural Asia Pacific group members’ roundtable and its fourth Asia-based international financial law conference were due to kick off in the Japanese capital today. However both events have been postponed, with the IBA saying that ‘delegate and staff safety are paramount’. 

It added that information is under 'constant review on a conference-by-conference basis’ and it is working with hotels to minimise the risk of infection. Delegates have also been advised to follow any health advice and travel restrictions relevant to their travel arrangements, to take ‘whatever steps they can to keep healthy’, and not to travel to an IBA conference if unwell.

Meanwhile, the University of Law has suspended all face-to-face teaching at its Hong Kong campus, which opened just four months ago. A spokesperson for the university said: ‘Of utmost importance to us is ensuring continuity of study for our students and to that end we are delivering online workshops and lectures in real-time, to ensure students are receiving their scheduled training from home. Students have already taken an exam and are currently taking their mocks to ensure they’re not missing any learning. We have also scheduled extracurricular sessions for students to engage in whilst at home.’

In Italy, large law firms in Milan are adopting ‘smart working’ procedures to reduce the number of people coming into offices. Meanwhile, at least one firm in Rome insists that lawyers who have been in contact with someone from the municipalities in quarantine have to work from home and inform the managing partner immediately.

It has been reported this afternoon that 300 office workers in Canary Wharf, London, have been sent home after an employee who had recently returned from a country infected with the coronavirus reported flu-like symptoms.