As a security provider we continue to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on societies and economies across the globe. We are acutely aware of the potential humanitarian impacts and have also noted small escalations in violence in our countries of operation as terrorist groups seek to capitalise on the situation.
IDG’s Global Response to Covid-19—
We are committed to two core objectives over this period:
- We will look after our people —
We are committed to protecting the well-being and livelihood of all our personnel and those we work with and among. We are particularly concerned for our local national staff, who are most directly affected by local conditions and most at risk due to high exposure rates, poor levels of medical provision, and the vagaries of markets – price rises and goods shortages in particular. We will ensure that our employees remain on our payroll and have the means to support themselves, and their families, through these tough times. All IDG staff will be paid while the Coronavirus pandemic remains, regardless of their circumstances and ability to perform duties.
- We will look after our clients —
We have committed additional funding at every location and undertaken the following measures across the company to maintain security across all our client sites. This has been guided by WHO and other expert advice:
- Personal Protective Equipment —
We have purchased, shipped and issued stocks of PPE - masks, gloves, gels, soaps –to all of our duty sites to keep our guards safe. This includes provision for replacement of these disposables/consumables over time.
We have also donated over USD 300,000 worth of PPE and medical supplies to hospitals in Afghanistan, to better safeguard our personnel and the people of the country in the event they fall ill.
- Quarantine —
We identified and isolated quarantine facilities and equipment from our existing accommodation areas, and where this was not possible, or we intended to centralise our response, we have purchased additional facilities such as containerised housing units.
- Insurance and Medevac —
We are covered for all staff in the event that we need it. We have worked with our insurers to reinforce this, and have developed and shared our CONPLANs with them so they can respond. We have identified additional emergency medical response capabilities, in the event our identified responders are unable to respond due to restrictions, lockdowns, or excessive demand. On several occasions, we have medically evacuated critically ill members of our guard force from Kabul to Germany to ensure they receive the best possible treatment available.
- Emergency Hardship Fund —
We have allocated funds for personnel requiring support, which includes family and dependents who we know are also struggling in the lockdown.
- Early Pay for Local Staff —
Payroll was run early in order to allow staff and their families to act early. We are continuing to pay early and plan to keep this system while the lockdown is in place.
- Good Hygiene Practices —
We have enforced good hygiene practices across the business, with additional facilities for hand washing, or sterilising gels, being made widely available.
- Enhanced PPE —
We recognise that in many locations we need to be more self-sufficient than most, and so have issued better masks, goggles/facial screens, biohazard suits, etc, to enable management of victims or for higher risk activities.
- Physical Separation Measures —
Across all our offices and at duty stations we have split offices, split shifts, separated teams, reorganised accommodation, reorganised guard post rotations, etc.
- Social Distancing —
This has been implemented across all sites and guides our day-to-day behaviours and interactions. We have also issued advice to staff on what precautions they should consider taking for religious practices and also for special gatherings that occur during Thingyan and Ramadan.
- Communications —
We have ensured group-wide communications to all staff, to assure them of our commitment to them. Not only do we seek to provide reassurance, but also to retain motivation and be in a better position to maintain security. We know that many staff worry about their jobs, and even see taking sick leave as a risk. We have been clear and strident in reassuring our staff that we will look after them.
- CONPLANs —
We have integrated our local and regional contingency plans with our clients' plans at regional and local levels. This has ensured that plans are optimised and proved more effective as a result.
- Travel —
We stopped all unnecessary international travel in January 2020. This covered all managerial activity, but we continued to enable leave rotations for our staff. Similarly, we greatly reduced local travel to minimise exposure outside the compounds and offices.
- Working From Home —
We have made arrangements for all non-essential staff to work from home, giving them the tools to continue working, or simply ‘standing them down’, and so allowing them to isolate and be with their families while remaining salaried.
- Technology —
Thermal cameras have been fielded at head offices and key locations. We know that elevated body temperature does not identify non-symptomatic but infected personnel and is therefore of limited value, but it does also have a positive psychological and behavioural effect. We have deployed oximeters at key locations. We will be deploying HEPA filtration systems in key communal areas.
We have achieved our aim of maintaining security, though we will never be complacent on this and remain vigilant and ready to meet and manage further impacts. Our security plans, and our contingency plans, are under constant review and we plan and adapt as we must to ensure security. We continue close collaboration and joint planning with our clients to ensure this. We have also been able to ensure our small, but important humanitarian duty – to our people – has been possible.
A COVID-19 case study: Somalia—
In Somalia we needed to protect our guards from infection in the camps where they work and were quick to implement COVID measures and issue protective. However, we wanted to go beyond this and help them protect themselves and their families at home as well. We issued monthly hygiene hampers so they could disinfect their homes and protect their families as best as possible. As food prices increased suddenly, we issued salaries 10 days early to protect our people against the unexpected costs.