Following the outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, regulators around the globe have been putting in place various relief packages to help economies and their people through this challenging period. To support these efforts, governments have called on the help of various business communities to help redirect resources towards the battle.
In Australia, the major banks were the first to answer the call, committing various forms of relief for businesses and consumers, such as deferring repayments and providing new loans to help small and medium businesses, with second-tier banks and smaller lenders following suit.
Private hospitals have also been called on to provide access to hospital beds and direct their resources and capabilities to attend to the sick, while veterinary hospitals are donating breathing machines, masks, gowns and other vital equipment and supplies to help doctors fight the spread of COVID-19 among humans.
Various hotel groups have opened their rooms to provide travellers with quarantine refuge, while the Pan Pacific, a luxury Perth hotel, has dedicated its rooms to house some of the city’s most at-risk homeless people. Under the ‘Hotel for Heroes’ program, hotel rooms have also been extended to healthcare workers who may have caught the virus.
Deep tech start-ups, meanwhile, are pivoting their technologies to find solutions for containing the virus. One company which was working on thermal imaging has repurposed its technology to instead measure a person's temperature to be used for screening.
In the US, there is emerging evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine tablets may be effective in treating the virus, especially if treated at early stages (before it has permanently damaged lung capacity and triggered an immune system response). A group of biopharma and pharmaceutical companies including Bayer, Novartis and Teva have committed to donate around 220 million of these drugs pending approval by the health authorities.
In India, the auto industry has come out united to contribute funding towards respiratory devices and ventilators along with testing kits and building modular treatment facilities for infected patients.
This is a time that has called on all parts of society to work collaboratively in combatting the global pandemic. As this global crisis develops, helpers are emerging from various sectors, donating funds and applicable materials for the purpose of manufacturing the necessary gear and equipment.
The social mission of a business has never been more relevant.