The regulator said in a notice issued on Wednesday it would keep the situation “under review” and may decide to postpone inspections at short notice.
CQC chief executive Ian Trenholm said inspection managers would review inspection plans on an ongoing basis after the number of covid-19 cases in the UK jumped 60 per cent to 85 cases on Wednesday.
Mr Trenholm said the CQC would look to lessen the demands made on providers, including reducing what they need to do to prepare for inspections and how inspectors can limit their need to be on site.
A letter from Mr Trenholm said: “We will still be carrying out inspections, but inspection managers will be reviewing inspection plans on an ongoing basis to make sure our activity is aligned with the very latest position.
“Most inspections will continue as planned in the short term, we will keep the position under review and may decide to postpone an inspection, perhaps with relatively short notice.
“We will take a pragmatic and flexible approach to how and when we regulate as and when this situation develops and we commit to continuing conversations with providers and their representative organisations.”
On Tuesday, NHS England announced coronavirus was a ‘level four’ incident, and NHSE had commandeered local health service resources in the fight against the disease.
Organisations have been told to designate 24/7 points of contact to act on coronavirus alerts, and not to stockpile medicines. Intensive care units have also been told to test thousands of patients for the disease.