The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) a pandemic this after the virus spread across the world infecting more than 100 000 people.At a media briefing WHO director-general, Tedros Adhanom said that the number of cases of COVID-19 outside China had increased 13-fold. “There are now more than 118 000 cases in 114 countries, and 4 291 people have lost their lives. In the days and weeks ahead, we expect to see the number of cases, the number of deaths, and the number of affected countries climb even higher,” Adhanom said. As a result, countries and organisations around the world are preparing themselves for COVID-19. Mining giant Barrick Gold is among the companies putting measures in place to deal with the virus. Drawing on experience gained combating Ebola outbreaks around its African operations, Barrick Gold has increased its site-specific emergency response plans as well as regional crisis management plans to deal with any manifestation of COVID-19 in or near its mines globally.
The company said it had counselled all employees about the symptoms of the virus and the risk of contracting the infection. Access to each site across the group is strictly controlled and visitors, employees and contractors are routinely screened before and on arrival. Emergency medical procedures and facilities are in place across the organisation.Barrick is closely monitoring the situation, engaging with health authorities and tracking updates from the international medical community. Thus far, it has not deemed it necessary to introduce any travel restrictions. Supplies to its mines have not been affected but the company is increasing its inventory of key commodities to above their normal level. Placed and forecast orders are intact. Barrick said it has a long record of investing in health in the areas around its operations and consequently is engaged with a high level of cooperation from local communities and authorities, as was the case with respect to previous epidemics it had managed.