Q2: Is it permissible to use remote assessments and audits to maintain the validity of accredited certifications during the COVID-19 crisis?

Yes.  The IAF Statement on COVID-19 referenced the use of remote assessments and the mandatory document to be used by ABs and CBs, IAF MD4:2018 IAF Mandatory Document for the Use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) for Auditing and Assessment Purposes. In addition, there is also informative document on principles for remote assessments – IAF ID12:2015 Principles on Remote Assessment that can be used in this instance.  It is necessary to bear in mind however, that regulatory bodies, scheme owners and purchasers may have specific requirements that may need to be adhered to, and which may take precedence. IAF ID3 may also assist readers.