Nations around the globe have been working incredibly hard to ensure that the threat of the novel coronavirus is contained and mitigated as much as possible.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) as of 9th February there are 37 558 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus globally with the disease leading to 813 deaths, 812 within China alone.

The WHO places the virus as a high risk globally and this week we learned that Vodacom is taking that advisory as seriously as governments are.

The mobile network operator has sent out an alert to its suppliers urging them to take a number of precautions.

“All suppliers and/or third party staff who have been travelling to and from China or had direct exposure to potential sources of coronavirus infection must be placed under medical observation and isolation for at least 14 days upon return,” wrote Vodacom in a memo to suppliers.

That 14 day period is not arbitrary. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the US states that novel coronavirus can take up to 14 days to incubate. While this is based on the incubation of MERS viruses, HSBC has implemented a similar precaution.

Vodacom has also asked its suppliers to confirm that staff who have travelled to and from China and have been exposed to potential sources of infection have been screened and undergone the 14 day observation and isolation exercise.

Staff who have not travelled to China may resume their duties at Vodacom.

To minimise the potential risk, Vodacom implemented a “softlock” on supplier staff and third party access 48 hours after the memo was received until the above conditions were met.

But even following this information suppliers will be required to be re-certified by Vodacom.

The process is complex but Vodacom seemingly has to do this to ensure that the risk of novel coronavirus entering the country is lowered, at least as far as its suppliers and staff are concerned.

“As a responsible Corporate Citizen, Vodacom has taken the initiative with staff and suppliers to raise awareness around the coronavirus, in order to mitigate any potential exposure from individuals who have recently travelled to and from China,” a Vodacom spokesperson told Hypertext.

As of time of writing there appear to be no confirmed cases of novel coronavirus in South Africa. Of course this can change and we advise our readers follow the WHO’s situation reports which are updated daily at this link.

“We continue the collection and testing of samples from individuals with symptoms of coronavirus this is normal and demonstrates effective surveillance of the 2019-nCoV. To date we have conducted 56 tests and all have been negative. There are no confirmed cases of coronavirus,” the National Institute for Communicable Diseases stated on Twitter.

With the virus spreading at an alarming rate it’s a slight comfort to know that firms such as Vodacom are taking precautions to ensure South Africans are safe.


Vodacom notice to suppliers and/or third party suppliers

Dear Suppliers:

Due to the Novel Coronavirus outbreak in China, Vodacom has put measures in place to mitigate exposure to the virus.

The following measures are in place and it is imperative that all suppliers and/or third party suppliers execute this with immediate effect:

  1. All suppliers and/or third party staff who have been travelling to and from China or had direct exposure to potential sources of coronavirus infection must be placed under medical observation and isolation for at least 14 days upon return.
  2. All suppliers to provide Vodacom with written confirmation that the following has been executed:
  • All staff and/or third party staff who have been travelling to and from China or had direct exposure to potential sources of coronavirus infection have completed the compulsory 14 day medical observation/isolation as per above and that a medical doctor has cleared staff to resume duties at Vodacom or any of Vodacom’s sites.
    • A list of staff as per above point to be supplied to Vodacom to monitor that no premises are entered without the necessary confirmation.
  • All staff and/or third party staff not been travelling to China or had direct exposure to potential sources of coronavirus infection in the last 14 days are cleared to resume duties at Vodacom.
  • Vodacom will be implementing soft lock on all supplier staff and third party access within 48 hours from the data and time of this notice, until the conditions are met

3. On completion of item 2 above, supplier staff and/or third party staff access will be unlocked for a period of 15 days and the following measures will be required to re-certify permanent supplier access:

  • Vodacom contracting business units to carry out-re-certification of all supplier and third-party access
  • Confirmation from the respective business unit required to maintain access beyond 15 days
  • Suppliers to engage with their respective partners to facilitate the access re-certification process
  • Vodacom to terminate access of all suppliers staff and third party access within 15 days, if the re-certification process is not completed.

4. Unauthorized access to any of Vodacom’s premises is strictly prohibited.

Please urgently supply the requested information to [REDACTED]

Should there be any question or concerns this can be raised by contacting [REDACTED]