UPDATE #2: Coronavirus and Travel in U.S. & the Philippines

8 minutes to read, posted on March 12, 2020, by VXI Marketing

Please see earlier updates for additional information.

MARCH 12, 2020

Client/Partners/Friends,

Over the last 24 hours multiple governments and organizations have put in place preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, including U.S. travel restrictions for Europe and the NBA’s indefinite season suspension. In the spirit of client partnership, going forward we will be regularly sharing information related to our business as the situation evolves.

Today, the Philippine government today announced it will restrict travel to and from Metro Manila beginning March 15, 2020, and ending April 14. VXI Global Solutions had anticipated this move, and we are well-prepared to deal with it. As of now, the Philippines has 54 confirmed cases of COVID-19. There are no known cases within the VXI Global Solutions workforce.

Because we have extensive operations in China, where the coronavirus originated, we have benefited from several months of managing this fast-evolving situation in a manner that ensures business continuity for our clients.

Above all, VXI’s primary concern is the health and well-being of our employees, their families, and our communities. See the appendix for VXI’s overall action plan in response to the coronavirus.

What Philippines Travel Restrictions Mean for VXI and Our Clients

VXI has significant operations in the National Capital Region (NCR) of greater Manila and elsewhere in the country.

VXI will continue operations with additional safety measures in place, which is what the Philippine government recommends. We continue to provide our clients with exceptional service.

The following statement from Contact Center Association of the Philippines provides additional details.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your VXI Client Services partner with questions.

Thank you,
David Zhou & Eva Wang
Co-Founders & Co-CEOs

Details of the Philippines Travel Restrictions

On March 12, 2020, President Rodrigo Duterte announced travel restrictions for the NCR. The Contact Center Association of the Philippines, an industry trade organization, compiled this helpful summary.

The announcement includes:

  • Prohibition of mass gatherings where the number of people attending could strain the planning and response resources of the community the event is being held
  • A community quarantine in Metro Manila:
    • Barangay-wide (ie, neighborhood) quarantine when there are at least two positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different households in the same barangay,
    • Municipality/City-wide quarantine when there are at least two positive COVID-19 cases belonging to different barangays in the same municipality/city,
    • Province-wide quarantine when there are at least two positive COVID-19 cases in belonging to different municipalities/cities in the same province;
  • Encouragement of flexible work arrangements for the private sector:
    • The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) shall issue guidelines to safeguard the welfare of workers,
    • All manufacturing, retail and service establishments are advised to remain in operation during the period—provided that strict social distancing measures are observed by their respective managements;
  • Continuation of operation of mass transport systems like the Light Rail Transit, Metro Rail Transit and Philippine National Railways—provided that the Department of Transportation (DOTr) issue guidelines to ensure social distancing;
  • Suspension of land, domestic air and domestic sea travel to and from Metro Manila; and
  • Imposition of travel restrictions to those traveling from countries with localized COVID-19 transmission, except for Filipino citizens, including their foreign spouse and children (if any), holders of Permanent Resident Visa and holders of Diplomatic Visa issued by the Philippine government.

It is important to note that these provisions may be modified and amended by the government.

What’s been done?

Corporately/Global Preventative Measures:

Starting in early February, a strict preventive measures action plan was developed and communicated across the VXI enterprise, including:

  • Regular communication to educate employees about Coronavirus and how to prevent it
  • Social media and Intranet-based campaigns providing preventative information in a clear and engaging info-graphic format
  • Distribution of face masks
  • Intensified cleanliness and sanitation of facilities
  • Additional hand sanitizers in all lobbies and throughout each site
  • Constant health advisories
  • Coordination with the Department of Health (where available) for local updates
  • Strict compliance on food safety by our concessionaires, where applicable.

North America:

  • All travel will be stopped and that the only travel allowed would be travel that is deemed “essential travel” as approved by the VXI C-Suite. This decision will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Nearshore (Jamaica/Guatemala):

  • All travel will be stopped and that the only travel allowed would be travel that is deemed “essential travel” as approved by the VXI C-Suite. This decision will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

Offshore/International/Global Travel (including the Philippines and China):

  • All global travel has been suspended. This decision will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

FAQs

What approach is VXI taking for Contingency Planning?

VXI is in process of finalizing a work from home strategy where appropriate. This strategy is very program-, site-, and/or geography-specific, and we are working with local subject matter experts to understand how we could implement a work from home strategy within the constraints of each scenario. Collaboratively we will develop mobilization plans to address this unlikely scenario.

For services that cannot be performed remotely and require onsite presence, what is VXI’s backup or contingency location to continue to provide services?

We have had discussion with clients, and are working through BCP/DRP options to meet unique needs and business requirements. These options include from remote working, and shifting contact volume to alternative locations (outsourced or internal) and/or geographies.

Does VXI  see any global risk to services or availability of staff in certain places?

At this time VXI does not see any risk. As we actively monitor local situations, we continue to encourage our teams to remain vigilant on preventative measures, and strive to operate in a way that minimizes impact to our client’s customers. Where most significantly impacted, our mainland China operations are now back to 90% production.

Is VXI restricting travel for employees?

Yes, VXI has canceled all international travel and restricted all domestic travel to ‘essential only’ with approval from our C-Suite officers.

If one of VXI sites identifies a confirmed case within the employee base, is there a closure requirement?

At VXI our passion is truly for our people and we have a clear protocol in place for our employees should there is a suspected case.  We have comminuted to all our employees that we are here to support them and should there be any concern we will provide transportation to the closest medical facility for screening.

Should there be a confirmed case we would work with the impacted clients/customers to mobilize an alternative BCP as best we can. Options include leveraging an alternative site or remote working, where possible.  In the event of a confirmed case, we would close the impacted site and self-quarantine staff for the timeframe recommended by the WHO, or according to local government-mandated protocols.

 How does VXI make sure that the precautionary measures are being followed/sustained?

In early January as the Coronavirus started to become more prevalent we immediately implemented our education and preventative measures program as outlined in the appendix below. 

We have posted reminders through our global facilities and have weekly communications going out to all staff.  In addition, our facilities leaders and staff with the support of our HR teams have increased their presence to reinforce our preventative measures. 

Does VXI supply/require the use of masks daily?

The company has provided masks to staff in specific geographies, however, our focus has and continues to be on education. As more information is made available, most official sources recommend against mask use in the general public, recognizing they can create a false sense of security.

We strive to ensure our employees who choose to wear masks are wearing them properly and remain diligent about all other aspects of hygiene that have proven much more effective (regular, proper handwashing and limiting contact). We will continue to monitor local situations and evaluate mask use, as needed.

Does VXI have thermal scanners in each site?

Our China-based operations are equipped with ear and forehead thermometers as mandated by the Chinese Government, however, these devices may not be available (or warranted) at every site. Our focus remains on education and preventative measures at this time. Should local situations warrant, VXI will examine the use of thermal scanners on a site-by-site basis.

Are there any changes to the VXI BCP and/or DRP, and any steps you are taking to minimize the risk of an outbreak?

VXI has formulated and launched emergency protocols and established an epidemic task team(s) immediately to minimize the potential risk. We actively contact vendors to promote the procurement of anti-epidemic materials to ensure daily business.

We’ve also made a great effort to manage the current health condition information and travel statistics of employees where appropriate. We are in the process of implementing contingency plans as mentioned, preparing for work from home service delivery where appropriate.

Does VXI have confirmed cases and deaths?

No, VXI has no confirmed cases or deaths at any of our locations globally.

Official Information and Impact Statements:

Extensive information is circulated about the Coronavirus, we recommend and leverage verified sources such as that from the World Health Organization (WHO).

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