1st April 2020 - Original publication: ArcelorMittal's corporate website
These are unprecedented times. Starting in Asia, Europe is now the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic, with cases also increasing exponentially in America. The virus is also starting to present itself in many other countries, including those in which ArcelorMittal operates, with cases set to increase. And indeed it seems likely that countries that have not so far been significantly impacted may be soon.
From a practical point of view, ArcelorMittal is following World Health Organisation guidelines and is implementing the recommendations and instructions of governments in the countries where we operate. Communications regarding the steps that our people can take personally to protect themselves, their families and colleagues have been distributed and will continue to be emphasised company-wide. Those employees who are able to work from home are doing so. In terms of our facilities, we are attempting to keep plants operating so we can still meet remaining customer demand, while also guaranteeing the wellbeing of our employees and minimising the risk of exposure. I am pleased to say also that many of our units are taking positive actions, offering their skills and facilities to the relevant authorities to help mitigate this crisis.
Now let me address the emotional aspect. Of course, we are all concerned. None of us have ever experienced anything like this. But I am certain that the global community, and ArcelorMittal, will come through it together. Scientists are working hard to find a vaccine. And while there is encouraging news from regions where the virus first appeared of cases decreasing, in many regions we still must go through a period of tougher measures that will be difficult and unpleasant. We should remember that these are being designed to help accelerate our path through this with as little impact as possible, particularly on the elderly and most vulnerable, ensuring we can return to normality as soon as possible.
As a company and as a community, ArcelorMittal is strong. We have worked over these past few years to build our strength and so I am sure that this will stand us in good stead to weather this current crisis, as we have successfully weathered crises in the past. I am in very regular contact with our leadership teams around the world, and they are all working hard to ensure we take the right decisions for the wellbeing of our people and of our plants.
I hope that in a matter of months the world will have passed through the worst and we will be resuming our lives as before. In the meantime, with social contact also disrupted, I encourage everyone in the ArcelorMittal community – internal and external – to find ways to stay in touch with friends, families and colleagues. In this regard, we are very fortunate with the technology we now have at our fingertips. I know that I rely on this technology to stay in touch with my friends and family, I am sure you are doing the same.