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COVID-19 Bulletin – Mar 26, 2020

March 26, 2020

 

P&G External Business Partners:

 

Thank you for your continued support of P&G’s business and commitment to support our consumers, customers, and collective organizations. Below is our latest update.

 

The health and safety of our employees and business partners continue to be in the front of all the actions we are taking to assure our consumers benefit from the many P&G products that are key to helping prevent the spread of COVID-19 around the world. Many of P&G products are critical for helping consumers maintain proper hygiene, personal health and healthy home environments.

 

As such, we want to keep you informed on best practices we are following as we navigate the COVID19 pandemic.  With guidance from medical professionals, we’re constantly evaluating and updating the robust measures already in place to help our people who are making, packing and shipping P&G products stay safe at work. This includes temperature scans, shift rotations, queueing avoidance, and physical distancing where possible. We’re performing comprehensive, methodical cleaning of all production areas, including regular sanitization and surface disinfection that exceeds the most rigorous health authority standards. We’re also equipping and encouraging all employees to make smart, appropriate choices, such as staying at home if they feel unwell, are part of high-risk groups, or have pre-existing medical conditions.

 

Trusted brands are more important than ever given the needs generated by the current crisis, the increased awareness on health and hygiene, and because people are spending more time in their homes. Personal cleansing and proper hygiene have become as fundamental to daily life as eating and sleeping. Everyone at P&G is working diligently to maintain the production, distribution and availability of all our brands, not only for consumers but also for the comfort and confidence of the medical professionals and first responders who are on the front line of the battle against COVID-19.

 

Below, we also want to share with you a series of links that can provide you with recent policy developments by country regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.   This is a compilation of links to articles that will lead you the latest in-country news that we continue to track.

 

Best Regards,

 

Stew Atkinson – Ana Elena Marziano

P&G Chief Purchasing Officer

 

 

KEY DEVELOPMENTS:

Global Update  

  • G20 nations vow to inject $5 trillion to fight COVID-19; ready to do ‘whatever it takes’ to minimize the impact of the pandemic
  • At least 81,321 people in the US are known to have been infected with the coronavirus, more cases than China, Italy or any other country, according to The New York Times

     

    US Federal Update   

  • The Senate unanimously passed the $2.2 trillion virus-related stimulus CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Response, and Economic Security) Act by a vote of 96-0. This is the third bill in the series in response to COVID-19.  We expect the House to pass this bill and President to sign, unchanged, by the end of the week or early this weekend.  A detailed section-by-section summary, as well as a summary of appropriations, are attached.Case Section by section,CoronoVirus
  • White House OSTP, US DOE and IBM to bring together federal government, industry, and academic leaders who are volunteering free compute time and resources on their world-class machines in the COVID-19 High Performance Computing (HPC) Consortium.  Researchers are invited to submit COVID-19 related research proposals to the consortium via this online portal, which will then be reviewed for matching with computing resources from one of the partner institutions. An expert panel comprised of top scientists and computing researchers will work with proposers to assess the public health benefit of the work, with emphasis on projects that can ensure rapid results.
  • Trump looking to put troops near Canadian border amid coronavirus fears
  • President Trump told US governors that the federal government will rank counties according to their risk of a coronavirus outbreak, as he seeks to return Americans to work by his aspirational Easter deadline

     

    US State Update

  • The White House approved disaster declarations for the states of Illinois, North Carolina and Texas, these are in addition to the previously approved declarations in Florida, Louisiana, Iowa , California, Washington and New York

 

Other US News

  • Jobless claims soar to record 3.3 million; It was the largest number, by far, of unemployment claims ever recorded for a single week
  • The American Red Cross now faces a severe blood shortage due to an unprecedented number of blood drive cancellations
  • Walmart has hired 25,000 new employees and given offers to thousands more in the first week of a hiring push, as the biggest private employer in the US scrambles to keep its shelves stocked and checkouts staffed
  • Poll finds recession fears high amid layoffs and pay cuts from coronavirus fallout
  • P&G stepping up as a force for good
  • ASTM International is providing no-cost public access to important ASTM standards used in the production and testing of personal protective equipment - including face masks, medical gowns, gloves, and hand sanitizers - to support manufacturers, test labs, health care professionals, and the general public as they respond to the global COVID-19 public health emergency.

 

Canada Update

  • The Canadian government is "strongly opposed" to the idea of sending American troops to the border to intercept illegal migrants as part of that country's response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Prime Minister spoke today with leaders of the G20 nations via video conference and said they agreed that coordinated efforts are needed to protect people's health and the economy — though he did not detail exactly how that effort would unfold.
  • Yesterday (March 25, 2020) Canada invoked the Quarantine Act to impose mandatory self-isolation for international travelers entering the country. Essential workers such as truck drivers and health care workers moving between the U.S. and Canadian border will be excluded to ensure the flow of supplies and medical care is not impeded.
  • B.C. releases the list of essential services.  Pulp manufacturing is covered as essential.
  • The Bank of Canada is encouraging retailers to continue to accept cash, despite ramped-up health precautions by all levels of government to thwart the spread of COVID-19. The Bank of Canada is also working with financial institutions across the country to ensure no disruption in cash flow.
  • More than 160 Canadian charities are asking Ottawa for urgent financial support to maintain their survival.
  • The B.C. government has issued a number of emergency orders to protect the province's supply of food and goods, prevent the hoarding of medical supplies and ensure the public follows isolation rules meant to slow the spread of COVID-19. Today B.C. announced it has established a new provincial supply chain co-ordination unit to take a more active role in the distribution of goods and services. Retailers and suppliers must now report to the unit on inventory of critical supplies, including medical supplies for frontline workers.

 

Latin America Update

  • Argentina: #of cases: 502, #of deaths 8, #of recovered patients 72.The President declared that Argentineans abroad would not be taken home for the moment.
  • Brazil: #of cases 2.433 infected, #of deaths 57. The Federal Government released a BRL 3.5 billion credit to fight the coronavirus pandemic. BRL 3.1 billion will be destined to income distribution program _Bolsa Família, which will provide additional income to 1.2 million Brazilians and assist their families amid economic downturns due to the pandemic. The remaining credit will be divided between the Ministries of Defense, Science & Technology, and Foreign Affairs. Tomorrow, 3 million units of hydroxychloroquine will be delivered to states to treat Covid-19 patients with severe symptoms. The Ministry of Health stressed that self-medication is not recommended, since it could cause serious side-effects, such as vision impairment. Aligned to President Bolsonaro’s statement, the Ministry of Health has recommended voluntary quarantine only for elders, symptomatic patients, and their families. Contrarily to the position defended by governors, the Ministry stressed the need to resume economic activity while avoiding large gatherings. However, Health Minister Mandetta stressed that each region of the country must adopt its own measures, according to its local reality, and suggested that restrictive measures should be presented to the Ministry for discussion and evaluation. The Ministry of Infrastructure will work jointly with municipal governments to assure free cargo transportation amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to the Ministry, there is a consensus with all states that cargo road transportation and the maintenance of essential activities must be ensured. House Speaker Rodrigo Maia (DEM/RJ) defended temporary cuts in public servants’ salaries to free up resources for investments to fight the coronavirus pandemic. He states that discussions regarding the reform agenda will resume once the pandemic’s climax has passed and proposed a change in voting proceedings for Provisional Measures (MP), in order for them to be voted directly by the House and Senate Floors, avoiding committees. Justice Marco Aurélio rejected the appeal to suspend MP 926/20, which introduced measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic. In addition, he stated that regulation on inter-municipal movement must be centralized, issued by the Federal Government and implemented in the entire Brazilian territory. The Brazilian Waterway Transportation Agency (Antaq) determined the maintenance of waterway cargo and passenger transportation, as well as the regular functioning of port terminals. The Agency also prohibited the reduction of staff and cargo if this results in negative effects to supply chains of essential activities and public services. 25 of the 27 governors reaffirmed they will maintain quarantine policies despite President Bolsonaro's statements against the restriction measures. 19 governors criticized Bolsonaro directly.
  • Colombia: 470 cases, 4 deaths, full quarantine until April 13th. The production, transportation and  supply of our products in listed as essential in Government Decree and our exports are guaranteed as well. In PHC we have restrictions of exports for 3 products that go to LA but we can ask Ministry of Trade for exceptions if we guarantee Colombia’s supply.
  • Costa Rica: Cases 201. 2 deceased. Gov. Measures: National Emergency State Declared. Border closure: only nationals and residents allowed at all immigration entry points and quarantine measures after entry; public & private schools & Universities closed until April 12th, WFH & Social distancing continue to be strongly advised measures.
  • Ecuador: Cases 1211.  29 deceased. Gov. Measures: President Moreno declared a state of emergency, restricting mobility to strict exceptions urging people to stay at home to prevent the spread of the virus.  Economic measures announced ranged from differing tax payments within the next 6 months and for employers and employees to jointly agree on less work hours.  0 Tariffs and expedited import procedures for all medical supplies, mechanical respirators, medical waste bags, among other.  Military force has been deployed to major cities to enforce quarantine measures.
  • Guatemala:  Cases 24. 1 deceased. Gov. Measures: Closure of all offices public and private with express exceptions (pharmaceuticals and food industries). Public transportation service cancelled, people walking to work, exceptions for industries allow for private transportation arrangements.  Border closure like other CA countries, requiring nationals and residents to undergo quarantine. Our DC will remain open in compliance with government measures as exceptions apply.
  • Mexico: 475 cases have been confirmed and there are 1656 suspected cases. As part of the Phase II measures authorities announced that starting tomorrow March 26, the Federal Government is suspending activities, excepting what they will define as essential activities. Each Ministry/Agency Head will determine what is essential activities are and therefore the people in charge that must keep working reorganizing schedules so that this personnel does not work at the same time. AMLO asked public servers to perceive 8% less of their salary voluntary in order to have more resources available for public health. Requested the private sector to send home all employees that can work remotely, additionally to the vulnerable population determined in Sanitary Distance agreement. Also they expect for every organization to have defined and implemented by the end of this week at the latest their operations continuity plan according to these standards. IMSS has announced simplification on their processes to obtain permits not to work during 14 days in case of having symptoms of Coronavirus. This permit would be obtained through an online questionnaire. During this 14 days, employees would be subject to receiving subsidy from IMSS. Although this permit is not formally named “incapacidad”, treatment and subsidy would be equivalent. Main objective is to avoid having concentration of sick people at hospitals to prevent more transmissions. This would apply for people with symptoms whose health condition/age represent a low risk of worsening. We still need to confirm exactly which govt activities suspended may have an impact to the business as well as the criteria of the operations continuity plans. We understand timing considered for both the govt suspension and measures taken at work centers will go up until April 19. Exchange rate closed today at $24.02 per US dollar.
  • Panama:  Cases 558.  8 deceased. Full curfew /quarantine effective Wednesday, March 23rd, exceptions apply. All supply, logistics, cargo port, customs operations to guarantee food, hygiene products and medical supplies can continue normal operations.
  • Venezuela: 15 new cases reported yesterday, for a new country total of 106 cases. 15 patients have been discharged and 2 remain in critical condition. Fortunately no deaths reported as of today due to COVID-19. Interim President Juan Guaidó announced $20 million have been made available to purchase equipment and medicines required to cope with the disease. Negotiations will start to allow access of these items into Venezuela without further delay. Our shipments to customers continue without interruption in line with our daily plan. It is expected that FC raw material waiting at the Colombian border will begin its nationalization process. Process led by VZ GR. Tense calm in cities throughout Venezuela as people depending on daily income have remained at quarantine for almost 2 weeks. Gas shortages continue to be the new normal. Some reports indicate black market practices have begun to take place, charging up to $4 for 1 liter.

 

Europe Update

  • Nine EU governments wrote a joint letter to European Council president Charles Michel asking for the creation of a common-debt instrument issued by a European institution to revitalize the European economy after the crisis. The letter was signed by the prime ministers of Belgium, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain. But EU finance ministers have not yet reached an agreement because countries including the Netherlands, the Nordics and Germany are against ‘Corona bonds’.
  • The European Commission today issued advice to EU countries to boost the transport of goods via air until coronavirus-related traffic and travel restrictions are lifted. That should include exempting plane crews that have no coronavirus symptoms from restrictions, keeping regional airports open for cargo traffic only and lifting night curfews or slot restrictions. The plans should be implemented “as a matter of urgency,” the Commission said. Air cargo is particularly important for the “quick delivery of essential goods, medicines, medical equipment and supplies (…)” the Commission wrote.
  • European Council will hold a videoconference on Thursday evening, with focus on the following topics: limiting the spread of the virus; providing medical equipment, with a particular focus on masks and respirators; promoting research, including research into a vaccine; tackling socio-economic consequences.
  • BusinessEurope, EU’s largest business association, called on EU leaders to protect the European economy, “whatever it takes,” in a statement published on Wednesday ahead of the European Council Friday. “Europe’s long-term prosperity can only be safeguarded if European leaders do everything it takes to preserve our Economic and Monetary Union and our Single Market,” BusinessEurope President Pierre Gattaz said.
  • Under pressure from the trade unions and after a second intensive round of negotiations, the Italian government amended yesterday evening the “essential businesses list”.
  • The situation on the Turkish-Bulgarian border remains difficult: the waiting line is reaching to up to 50 km on import side (into Turkey), and 35 km for exporters (from Turkey).
  • French statistical institute estimates economic activity is currently 35% below normal.
  • On 25 March the Freight Transport Association (FTA), the business group representing the logistics sector, and the Road Haulage Association started petitioning the UK government to seek an extension to the current transition period for leaving the EU due to the challenges. They also called for a suspension to other planned domestic legislation which will impact the sector.
  • On Wednesday, the Swiss Government decided to maintain the current “soft” lockdown that was decided 10 days ago, as citizens seem to respect very well the recommendations of the government (no public gathering of more than 5 people; recommendation to stay at home except for shopping; certain types of work, health reasons and physical activity). The Swiss government also decided to extend border controls to all Schengen States. This change will not affect the free flow of goods.

 

AMA Update

  • Cambodia: Prime Minister is considering state of emergency. Cambodia now has 93 confirmed cases and banned foreign nationals from Italy, Germany, Spain, France, the US, and Iran from entering the country for 30 days last week. 
  • Egypt: Government is enforcing restrictive measures, on top of yesterday’s updates:
  • The government is excluding vehicles carrying nutritional products and vegetables from the restrictions stated.
  • Suspending all government services for two weeks with the exception to registering and issuing births and deaths in health offices;
  • Expanding the suspension of schools and universities for two additional weeks;
  • Extending the duration of the minimization of government workforce for an additional two weeks;
  • Exempting hospitals, medical centers, and their personnel from these measures;
  • Imposing emergency law penalties, starting EGP 4,000 and up to facing jail time, on violators of these measures
  • India: Prime Minister Modi on Tuesday appealed to the 1.3 billion population to follow a 21-day lockdown. India has already issued a ban on international arrivals. The country's rail network has also suspended most passenger services. Some Government employees are set to stagger their shifts and work in the office. Government has mandated all non-essential / food and medicine manufacturing and supply chain to be stopped.  Ministry of Home Affairs released a list of essential services that will remain open during the 21-day lockdown. Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) has set up a control room to monitor the issues of internal trade, manufacturing, delivery & logistics of essential commodities during the lockdown period. This control room will monitor in real time the status of transportation, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities to common man and difficulties being faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown period.
  • Japan: 1,193 confirmed case (+65 vs previous day). Ministry of Foreign Affairs escalated travel alert to Level 2, requesting Japanese to avoid international travels unless absolutely necessary. Tokyo Governor alerted that Tokyo is in critical phase if they will be able to prevent explosive spread or not. She requested residents to stay at home and avoid going out unless absolutely necessary, especially during this weekend
  • Jordan: Jordan has a round-the-clock curfew enforced by the military, with harsh penalties for those breaking the curfew of up to a year in jail time. More than 1,650 people have been arrested in Jordan over three days for violating the curfew. In the capital, a fleet of 190 buses chartered by the municipality started to deliver bread directly to homes, while pharmacies and water distributors have been authorized to make home delivery sales.
  • Philippines: 636 confirmed cases (84 new), 38 deaths and 26 have recovered. The Philippines continues to enforced Enhanced Quarantine over the whole island of Luzon (pop. 49 million) grinding most economic activity and all social activities to a halt. Only some operations are allowed, including the manufacture of food and essential goods (soap, laundry, diapers and feminine care pads) as well as skeletal operations of business process outsourcing activities (GBS) subject to certain conditions. All 3 sites are operational with MSC and SMO fully functioning in WFH setup and Cabuyao site operating with skeletal crew (gov’t guidance of 50% or less).
  • Singapore: All Work Pass Holders (including dependants) planning to enter/return to Singapore, regardless of mode of travel, must apply to MOM for entry approval. Requests can be submitted up to 10 days before the date of arrival. Employers should wait for MOM’s approval before asking pass holders to travel to Singapore. Pass holders are to show printout of approval on check-in and at ICA Checkpoint. Enforcements actions will be taken against errant employers and employees who do not comply with restrictions.  Stringent safe-distancing measures have been implemented to limit further spread. Public venues such as malls, museums, attractions are now open with restrictions; spacing and crowd flow will be regulated. Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat also announced a $48 billion Resilience budget to help Singapore deal decisively with the COVID-19 situation. As part of this budget, Singapore will help to stabilize businesses and cash flow by automatically deferring tax payments due in April to June 2020 for companies.  Moreover, the government will freeze all government fees and charges for 1 year, from April 2020 to 31st March 2021. Government will see unprecedented budget deficit of 7.9% of GDP, but Singapore is assured to remain fiscally sustainable.
  • South Korea: 104 new confirmed cases, bringing total infections to 9,241 with recovery rate at 45%. The new cases marked the 15th consecutive day of less than 100 cases. Total number of imported cases jumped by 31 to 131, and death toll rose by 5 to 131. PM Chung said the government will keep a no-tolerance stance toward those who do not follow self-isolation rules, warning of suits filing. Bank of Korea (BOK) said that it will supply an “unlimited” amount of liquidity over the next 3 months to financial institutions to help prevent a credit crunch. President Moon will brief other global leaders on Korea’s effective response when G-20 holds a special teleconference scheduled on March 26th for discussions on COVID-19.
  • Thailand: Foreigners banned from entering Thailand through April 30, with the exceptions for diplomats, pilots, drivers, and shippers
  • Vietnam: 153 confirmed case (+19 vs yesterday). Prime Minister said that next 2 weeks is critical to Vietnam’s ability to control the pandemic by preventing further community spread after stringent measures (stopping external risks – entry); thus encouraging Vietnamese NOT to leave home unless absolutely necessary. Gatherings of more than 20 people is banned.

 

Greater China Update

  • Greater China: Reported a total of 114 new COVID-19 cases (including Hong Kong 24 cases, Taiwan 19 cases, Macau 4 cases).  Mainland China reported 67 imported cases, the government continues strict border controls but so far no restrictions on inbound travelers.  Within China mainland more provinces are loosening restrictions on business activities, and more stores and service places are allowed to open.  Outside mainland, the situation is challenging; in Taiwan, indoor event with more than 100 people are restricted.
  • China will temporarily close its border to most foreign travelers, effective at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, to prevent a new outbreak of the coronavirus in the country.  The restriction applies to foreigners holding visas or resident permits, as well as to those holding APEC Business Travel Cards.