The COVID-19 pandemic has been, and continues to be, devastating. Globally, there have been over 7 million confirmed COVID-19 cases, over 400,000 lives have been lost and numbers continue to rise.i Most of us know of someone who has been affected by the virus. My hope is that in the future, when we will look back at this time, we remember not only those who lost their lives, but also how we came together as a global community to combat this virus.
Here at Samsung Bioepis, we have planned and taken necessary and progressive precautions to ensure the physical safety and mental wellbeing of our employees and our local community. This has been done in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 whilst also ensuring patients continue to have access to the treatments they need.
Our dedicated COVID-19 task force was established towards the end of January 2020, when the Korean government raised the alert and enforced preventative measures. The task force was founded to prevent a company-wide shut down.
At the height of the pandemic in Korea, a number of focused steps were taken by our task force in order to prevent the spread of the virus. We began with monitoring the temperature of our employees throughout the day, with thermal imaging cameras placed at all entrances to the campus. Each work team was encouraged to designate an individual to use traditional thermometers at least twice a day. We insisted employees practice social distancing in the workplace (office spaces were extended, and face-to-face meetings were halted). We also urged staff to use our internal communications (messaging) system, to minimize the number of interactions within the office space. Our labs continue to be disinfected daily. Finally, the company advised all employees against non-essential travel.
As well as enforcing practical preventative measures, the task force has subsequently developed five levels of protocol which are: initial response, campus entry monitoring, workplace management, confirmed case management, and a case in which a visitor has caught the virus. These agreed protocols outline the necessary steps and precautions we need to take as a company to allow business continuity whilst upholding standards and maintaining the safety of our teams. In addition to these five protocols, standards for quarantine supplies, disinfection processes and an employee response guide have also been developed. Our employees also now benefit from hourly paid-leaves and family care leave, which have proven essential for families with children at home.
In our local community, we have used guidance from the government to keep our colleagues and community safe. We have developed a manual that covers different scenarios – such as actions to take when someone shows a symptom or when an individual has caught the virus, in order to ensure the necessary measures are promptly taken. We have also supplied masks and sanitary products to a local children’s foundation.
Throughout this pandemic, we have seen incredible support from our employees, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their immense efforts to contain this virus in our community.
We’ve taken huge strides to combat this virus in every way we could, and our future actions are clear: to keep ourselves and our communities as safe as we can, mentally and physically. We pledge to keep our colleagues safe and will continue to monitor the situation and make amends to the way we run our business until we can safely return to ordinary running, together.