Moscow – PhosAgro (Moscow Exchange, LSE: PHOR), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated phosphate-based fertilizer producers, welcomes the decisions of regional and local authorities in the Vologda and Murmansk regions on the prompt introduction of strict quarantine measures in the cities of its presence, namely in Cherepovets, Kirovsk and Apatity, and expects similar measures to be taken in Balakovo and Volkhov (in the Saratov and Leningrad regions, respectively).
PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev has previously called on regional authorities to urgently introduce strict quarantines and restrictive measures in the cities where the Company operates to curb the spread of the infection, in line with measures that are usually introduced in emergency situations: "We consider this to be the only right decision given the current epidemiological situation. It will reduce the risks of further exponential growth of the incidence rate in cities and is aimed at ensuring the uninterrupted operation of enterprises that are systemically important and critical for the economy of the regions and the entire country. In addition, the accumulated experience in the application of operating regulations during the pandemic can be scaled up for their use in other cities and regions,” Mr Guryev said.
PhosAgro, in turn, has taken and continues to take comprehensive preventive measures to combat the spread of coronavirus in facilities and cities where it operates. The Group's facilities have established emergency response offices, which are managed by PhosAgro's central headquarters. Mr Guryev is in charge of the Company's central headquarters; he is also head of a similar emergency response office of the Russian Association of Fertilizer Producers and is co-chairman of the Coordination Council of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs for combating coronavirus. In addition, Mr Guryev takes an active part in the work of the Coronavirus Response Alliance.
Given the increased epidemic risk, PhosAgro Group's enterprises operate under special security arrangements. Due to their importance for the country's food security, special operating regulations and a scheme for reserving key personnel have been devised to ensure continuous full-cycle performance under any scenario of epidemic spread. Special arrangements for all other employees to switch to remote work have been made in advance.
Employees who are involved in the continuous operation of production facilities and who ensure the safe operation of particularly hazardous production facilities, are undergoing medical monitoring, including body temperature measurement using contactless thermometers. They are being compensated for petrol costs when using personal vehicles, and coronavirus tests have been bought to test for the virus. In corridors, employees passing through turnstiles must keep a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other.
Streaming thermal imagers have been purchased for installation in commonly used areas. Regular cleaning with disinfectants is carried out at checkpoints, in operator rooms and in sanitary facilities. UV recirculators have been installed in administrative and residential buildings. All employees of the Company have been provided with masks. In addition to masks, the Company has sufficient reserves of respirators, anti-infective suits, antiseptic and disinfectants.
Transport that carries employees to their shifts have been equipped with disinfecting agents, and all drivers, conductors and passengers are required to wear medical masks. To reduce crowding on the most popular routes, the number of buses has been increased.
PhosAgro coordinates its activities to counteract coronavirus with regional and city headquarters and actively participates in the development and implementation of comprehensive prevention programmes in the cities where it operates, including strengthening the dissemination of information on the prevention and control of coronavirus.
The Company is providing assistance to medical institutions in the cities where it operates, helping to improve their readiness for the pandemic. Medical institutions have been provided with the necessary equipment and protective equipment to fight coronavirus. In particular, the Company purchased 12 oxygen concentrators for the Apatit-Kirov city hospital, in addition to artificial respiration devices, large batches of disposable syringes, blood vials and biomaterials, 500 filter half-masks and more than a thousand disposable infectious protection suits, 42 overalls, 80 protective glasses, and 148 Taikem chemical protection suits. Another 713 such suits will be given to the hospital by the end of the month. The Company is also considering purchasing special medical furniture, bed linens, utensils, detergents, disinfectants and personal protective equipment.
The Company is buying tests and reagents for rapid testing. For example, together with the Russian Direct Investment Fund, PhosAgro is implementing a pilot system for introducing a new rapid testing system. Recently, the first batch of express tests was delivered to Kirovsk and Apatit, where employees of the Company's mining and processing facilities live.