The fight against coronavirus pandemic does not stop for a moment. SCM companies have 200,000 employees working under its umbrella. With their families, it's more than half a million Ukrainian citizens. We put drastic preventive measures into place long before the severity of the situation became apparent.
Step 1. We have developed the strategy for protecting our employees from COVID-19 as well as a programme for economic protection of our employees and businesses.
Stable operation of the enterprises right now can guarantee the security of Ukraine, as well as the safety of communities and each worker. This is a hope to break out of crisis faster.
We have set an objective to minimise the risk of coronavirus spreading among our employees. We have permitted our employees to work from home where possible and implemented strict hygiene protocols.
These measures will help people keep their jobs and incomes throughout the quarantine and during the recovery from the crisis.
Step 2. At the same time, we are taking care of the regions, cities and towns of our operations. We have become partners of the regional anti-crisis centres in four regions where we operate.
Our companies have been always providing social assistance in the areas of our presence. This is a part of our philosophy. Following the call of the President of Ukraine we have become partners of the regional anti-crisis centres under the governor's authority in four Ukrainian regions of our operation: Donetsk, Luhansk, Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk oblasts, as well as in Dnipropetrovsk and Zaporizhia oblast cities and a number of other regions.
These centres have been established to slow the spread of coronavirus and minimise the risk of shutting down the companies in the critical sectors of economy, as well as the risk of losing jobs.
Hard times require prompt and effective solutions.
1. Jointly with the local authorities and communities, we are taking every effort to keep regions, cities, towns, and districts prepared for peak loads on the healthcare infrastructure:
- We are procuring the required equipment for base hospitals. There is a global shortage of ventilators, with 200 countries intensively competing for this equipment. Therefore, the procurements take longer than we would like it. The procurement process is led by Rinat Akhmetov Foundation, and its founder has allocated a total of UAH 300 million towards this cause.
- We are purchasing the personal protection equipment for doctors and medical professionals. The materials used for its production are perishable, which makes it impossible to ensure a large stock.
- We are helping local authorities equip their medical facilities so that every single patient could be admitted during peak loads in all regions, cities, towns, and districts.
- We are developing a range of measures to protect those at risk, primarily focusing on people over 60. They are our parents who especially need our help. We are not simply telling them to stay home, but looking for means to deliver food and medicines to them.
2. We are urging other businesses across the regions to join the anti-crisis centre efforts, because the local authorities cannot overcome a crisis of this magnitude without your support.
3. We are urging residents of Ukrainian cities and regions and community leaders to step up and act responsibly as well, because each and every fighter is essential right now in this battle against coronavirus. Adherence to the WHO guidelines is a key responsibility for all of us. Please follow the new sanitation and hygiene standards. Avoid public places. Take up the teleworking tools where possible.
We care about our employees, we care about regions of our operations, and we care about the health of Ukrainians.
Step 3. The pandemic is challenging the global economy, with Ukraine being particularly vulnerable. These days, we have already embarked on major efforts to resuscitate the national economy after the crisis by establishing a Centre for Economic Health. Next week we will present the first results of the Centre's operation.
In this move, we have brought together representatives of key think tanks, their experts, best practices and recommendations.
Right now, they are working to create a portfolio of quick anti-crisis solutions and develop the country's new economic strategy amid the global recession.
We are calling on Ukrainian businesses and other donors to join us in these efforts, because if we fail to deliver sound economic solutions, then after this disaster called "disease" we may face another disaster called "poverty".
So, my key message today is that we must join our efforts and resources. We must keep working hard, take on responsibility and remain calm.