Risk Ratings Definitions


The COVID-19 domestic operations impact scale represents the impact of the disease to operating within a certain location1. This is in recognition that the advent of the pandemic has introduced a new variable to all operations – including both office and site-based work. The algorithm which defines the scale analyses the underlying health and security threat environment, the recent COVID-19 case activity as well as trends of new cases, local travel restrictions, mitigation measures in place, and the efficacy of mitigation measures.



International SOS assigns medical risk ratings based on the pre-pandemic situation. The rating must be interpreted in conjunction with the COVID-19 domestic operations scale and the COVID-19 cases status. For locations in outbreak status, even the best healthcare systems may be overwhelmed, limiting access to medical care, and the risk of infection in the general community is increased.

The pre-pandemic medical risk ratings are based on  a range of health risks and mitigating factors, including but not limited to: infectious disease, burden environmental factors, medical evacuation data, road trauma data, standard of emergency medical services, outpatient and inpatient medical care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, and cultural, language or administrative barriers.

An overall single rating is given for a location; however the medical landscape can vary widely. For example, major cities may have better access to quality medical care; whereas remote or rural locations may have limited availability of health facilities and specialist care.




The security risk rating evaluates the threat posed to employees by political violence (including terrorism, insurgency, politically motivated unrest and war), social unrest (including sectarian, communal and ethnic violence) as well as violent and petty crime. Other factors, such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters are also considered where they are of sufficient magnitude to impact the overall risk environment for employees.



Security Risk Zones are areas within a country where the risks faced by employees are different from the country’s overall risk environment, usually necessitating a different level of preparation.



1An overall single scale is given for a country. However, it should be noted that the impact of COVID-19 may vary widely between locations within each country. For example, between states, counties, and cities.