As a supplier of food, cleaning and hygiene products, Orkla has an important responsibility to society during the coronavirus outbreak. We are experiencing increased demand and are stepping up production of selected categories to ensure ample inventories and good ability to supply our customers going forward.
The situation we are now facing is the most serious that we have experienced in peacetime. The situation is constantly evolving, and on 11 March the World Health Organisation declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. In the past few days, several countries have implemented drastic measures, such as closing schools, kindergartens and public venues, and cancelling events. Several other countries, too, are taking new, more stringent measures.
Food products with a long shelf life, hand soap and cleaning products are some of the items currently in greatest demand by consumers. We must be able to deliver, so that store shelves can be restocked with the products that people need.
We have imposed strict procedures at our factories to prevent the spread of infection, to ensure that we are able to maintain high production capacity and of course in the interests of our employees. Until further notice, therefore, there will be no visits to factories, unless they are business-critical. We have an important role to play in supplying food, cleaning and hygiene products that people need now.
In a pandemic such as the one we are now experiencing, we at Orkla take our responsibility to society seriously. Preventing the spread of infection has top priority, and since Thursday we have urged all our employees at our headquarters in Oslo to work from home and issued a similar appeal to office employees in many of the other countries in which we operate. We have also imposed strict limitations on travel and visits. We will deliver the goods that are needed and we will do what we can to prevent infection from spreading.