As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic evolves in Canada and around the world, we want all healthcare providers, patient organizations and the community to know that as a healthcare company with a strong presence in Canada, we understand that the patients we serve are counting on us. At this time, all Novartis manufacturing sites as well as our major suppliers are operational. We are confident in our supply chain and will continuously assess this evolving situation and adapt accordingly.
Novartis is also responding to the pandemic by protecting the health and safety of our associates. With that in mind, we have implemented a number of preventive measures in Canada to maintain a safe work environment and reduce potential exposure to COVID-19:
All Novartis associates in Canada have been requested to work from home until further notice, moving to a virtual work environment with the use of remote technology to maintain business as usual
Non-essential business travel and non-essential meetings have been placed on hold
Novartis has stepped in during this unprecedented global public health crisis and announced today the creation of a COVID-19 Response Fund that will provide USD 20 million to those communities globally that are most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Initiatives in Canada include looking at how we can support urgent public health needs resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in local communities. Novartis globally will also be contributing to research by joining collaborative R&D efforts with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
This is a challenging time around the world, and we continue to operate our business to serve the needs of patients who count on us.