This is the third in a series of posts highlighting what M2030 partners are doing to respond to the COVID-19 crisis.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the region last month, Yoma Strategic Holdings planned ahead to make sure Myanmar was prepared.
Even before COVID-19 was identified in the country, Yoma took action to protect the health of its staff, business partners, and customers. Since January, Yoma restricted international travel and shifted towards meetings via video calls instead. As the outbreak in the region worsened, Yoma began thermal screening at all offices, and provided paid medical leave for all staff if they or their family developed fever or respiratory symptoms.
A week before Myanmar’s first case of COVID-19 was confirmed, Yoma donated two ventilators, three patient monitors, 500 Personal Protective Equipment sets, and 10,000 masks to the Myanmar Ministry of Health and Sports to boost COVID-19 preparedness in the country. At the same time, Yoma CEO Melvyn Pun emphasized that it would be important to stay calm and work together in the days ahead. “These are unprecedented and unexpected times, but we are committed to navigating this ambiguity with our partners, customers and our communities to support their needs where we can,” he said, “At this critical time, it is important to be ready, but not to panic. Each of us has a role to play to defeat this pandemic.”
Once COVID-19 was confirmed in the country, the Myanmar government took several steps to limit the spread of the disease. This included more thorough and frequent cleaning of public areas like markets and busy roads. As government sanitation staff worked into the night to clean public places, Yoma’s KFC Myanmar distributed free meals to boost morale. It was a small gesture of thanks, but was greatly appreciated by the street cleaning crews.
Even though most Yoma staff were already working from home when COVID-19 was first detected in Myanmar, the virus can survive on some surfaces for at least 2 to 3 days. As a precaution, Yoma thoroughly sanitized all of its offices with hospital grade disinfectant. Cleaners were given a full set of protective equipment, including gloves, an N95 mask, eye goggles and a disposable gown. They were given specific instructions to clean all areas, with a focus on frequently touched areas like lift buttons, handrails, doorknobs, chairs, tables, air conditioner and light controls, and computers. More through cleaning efforts also extended to all of Yoma’s businesses, including Pun Hlaing Siloam Hospitals, and New Holland tractor and JCB equipment dealerships. Yoma restaurants, including KFC, YKKO, Auntie Anne’s, and Little Sheep Hotpot also increased the frequency of cleaning at all of their locations to help keep customers and staff safe.
As one of the largest business groups in Myanmar, Yoma has stepped up to take leadership during the COVID-19 crisis. These actions include lending support to the government through the donation of medical supplies, enacting several smart internal policies to keep staff healthy, and stepping up cleaning efforts at its businesses to protect customers. Yoma’s wide portfolio includes banking, healthcare, real estate, transportation, and food and beverage, and its businesses play a significant role in Myanmar communities. Through its many efforts to help protect Myanmar from COVID-19, Yoma is demonstrating how business leaders can play a significant role in supporting public health systems.