Corona virus (COVID-19) outbreak - FAQ
(last updated 1/7/2020)
As the new coronavirus spreads globally and impacts our everyday (working and private) lives, IDA Foundation remains dedicated to fulfilling its mission of bridging the gap in access to medicines. Our teams in Amsterdam, Mumbai and around the world, are working together to ensure we can continue to support our customers in this time of uncertainty.
With a vast number of countries applying a lock down or export restrictions as a consequence of the virus, as well as businesses in affected countries forced to (temporarily) close their operations, we are working closely with our customers to plan ahead.
We have compiled a FAQ (frequently asked questions) regarding the coronavirus, focusing on its impact on our product availability and supply chain. We will aim to keep this FAQ up to date as developments arise, but we advise to contact your IDA contact for the latest information regarding your specific orders.
For Global Fund Principal Recipients, please also see this COVID-19 Procurement and Supply Update for Principal Recipients.
In these times, please know that IDA Foundation is doing everything we can to ensure delivery of these essential health goods.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs- last updated July 1):
Q: Has the corona outbreak affected IDA's offices and warehouses?
- All IDA offices remain fully operational, with our team in Mumbai working from home until at least August. Our team in Amsterdam is mostly working from home, with the office open two days a week for a maximum of 30 people. Our warehouses are also fully operational in Tilburg (NL) and Dubai (UAE).
- The lockdown in India has been lifted partially, with significantly eased restrictions in regions with few cases of COVID-19 (the country has been divided into red, orange, green and containment zones). The government is leaving it for states to demarcate these areas based on guidelines issues by the health ministry. The lockdown in all containment zones has been extended till July 31. While other regions are "unlocking", some states have extended restrictions nad/or lockdown until July 5, July 12 of July 15. Chennai is back into complete lockdown until July 5 at least.
- The Dutch government has continued relaxation of measures, having observed that the previous steps did not have a negative impact on the number of cases.
- The situation in China remains stable, but with many restrictive measures in place. The spike in COVID-19 cases in Beijing caused a strict lockdown in 29 residential communities, and mass testing is being conducted. Officials believe the outbreak has been contained.
Q: Are you still able to deliver products, including COVID-19 products?
Yes, we are still able to deliver products, and we are also delivering various COVID-19 related products. IDA has stayed focused on sourcing COVID-19 supplies, mainly PPE products, by engaging manufacturers, securing prices and lead times. So far IDA has approved 62 different PPE products from multiple suppliers, and eight more products are being currently assessed, each well documented in IDA's Quality Management System.
With our focus on PPE items, we are happy to share our range of PPE items available from stock in Dubai, currently the best global hub for humanitarian relief. This includes the addition of a medical respirator of which we continue to monitor the quality by confirming its critical features by an independent test laboratory.
DIAGNOSTICS AND MEDICAL EQUIPMENT
Our QA team is closely monitoring the development of diagnostic tests for COVID-19 and compiling an overview of the numerous tests that are under rapid development in both the EU and in Asia. We are adding a molecular test (PCR), that can be run on the most commonly used platforms. We are not including point of care rapid tests, as no test that is sufficiently validated is available yet, nor are we including antibody (serological) tests in our range, as they are not suitable for diagnosis.
Regarding medical equipment, please note we have oxygen concentrators, but IDA is currently not supplying ventilators.
Several treatment options are being studied. We are following these studies, and would like to recommend following EMA and WHO statements that no medicines have been proven to be effective and safe to use for COVID-19 - and it is very important that patients and healthcare professionals only use medicines for their authorised uses or as part of clinical trials of national emergency use programmes for the treatment of COVID-19.
For a full overview of our current stock, please contact your IDA representative.
Q: How is the coronavirus outbreak affecting the global supply chain?
Aside from country restrictions and lockdowns, the outbreak has also impacted space and container availability throughout the world and this has been heavily impacting the global supply chain. For more detail on restrictions per region / country, please see the detailed yet concise overview of current country restrictions (as provided by the World Food Programme), see here.
Global air freight capacity is 35% lower compared to this time last year, but we are seeing an increase in air capacity on a weekly basis, with major airlines such as Emirates and Qatar Airways announcing the re-opening of flights. Transpacific capacity has grown largely because of PPE shipments carried on passenger freighters. Overall however, options are still limited and air freight prices remain high.
For sea freight, the number of blank sailings to mitigate the pandemic impact is stabilising and worked into the carrier schedule.
The current government restrictions in India are having a large impact on all transport of goods: cargo flights are affected and sea freight capacity is heavily constrained. Interstate transport for manufacturing activities have started again, however adequate availability of trucks is still a problem due to non-availability of manpower. Most operations and ports are also impacted by the lack of workforce mobility (and workforce having returned to home towns), with no public transport being available in certain areas. With passenger trains very slowly starting up again, it remains to be seen how this will evolve in the coming weeks. The central government allows movement of all the goods across all the states contingent to states' implementing this notification, this however is depending on the local operators and excluding hot or red spots for COVID-19 quarantined areas. With the gradual lifting of measures we hope to see improvements the upcoming weeks and we will monitor developments such as the lockdown in Chennai, where contingency plans are still in place to limit the direct impact on our supply chain.
In close collaboration with our awarded freight forwarders, we are actively looking for transport solutions in these challenging circumstances. With the bigges challenge on air freight options, we focus most of our attention there for the time being.
- Capacity from Europe to Africa still down by almost 60% compared to last year
- Scheduled aircraft capacity to Africa is slowly improving but not at the same pace as main routes
- Several carriers have implemented additional surcharges on their current rate
- All ports in India (except for Chennai) are functional but operating at 60-80% due to reduced workforce
Q: How is the pandemic affecting manufacturers?
Our Chinese manufacturers and suppliers are all working as the situation in the country has stabilised. Our focus remains on sourcing PPE and other COVID-19 related items from approved suppliers and ensuring these are all aligned with the recently updated Chinese quality/export guidelines and restrictions related to PPE items. Where needed we have (newly) approved additional PPE products in our portfolio.
- Overall lead times for pharmaceuticals are on average 60-75 days
- While some API shortages still apply, in most cases we have been able to find alternative suppliers
- IDA paracetamol (500mg tablets) is available again
Average lead times for most medical supplies are around 45 days, with a few items (e.g. surgical gloves, foley catheter) with longer lead times. For most PPE items, except for gloves, we can offer shorter lead times, depending on the quantities requested and of course depending on other restrictions in the supply chain. The supply of face masks is slightly getting more stable.
Production and supply of pharmaceuticals and medical supplies are still affected by the lockdown and restrictive measures put in place by the government. From our contact with suppliers, almost all IDA manufacturers indicate they have resumed operations, currently averaging at 70-85% of their capacity. As India has been lifting measures for many businesses (except for containment zones) for some weeks now, we expect to see further improvement in capacity and operations. Some states have extended restrictive measures and/or are back in lockdown, but our supply chain is currently not suffering from this.
One of the biggest limitations currenlty experienced by our pharmaceutical suppliers is the non-availability of packing materials and non-availability of trucks for movement of raw materials and finished goods to and from the factories due to lack of manpower. However, there are slight improvements on the availability of packing materials (e.g. shipper cartons) as paper mills are starting to operate again. It may take a few weeks to see the improvements.
- The Indian Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) has currently only put a pharmaceutical restriction in place for paracetamol
- Despite the government relaxations of restrictions in many regions, manufacturers are indicating that they are still dealing with workforce shortages as workers have also returned to their families outside of the cities and there are no inter-state passenger trains running yet
- As with pharma, most suppliers are working with limited capacity due to workforce shortages
- Export restrictions are still in place for certain products
- IDA paracetamol (500mg tablets) is available again
For the most up-to-date developments around COVID-19, including scientific findings, you can also visit the following websites:
With the intensification of the global COVID-19 outbreak, suppliers, freight forwarders and IDA Foundation have recognized we are in a Force Majeure situation. Please see IDA's Sales Terms and Conditions (16: Force Majeure) which are applicable.
Other questions? Please contact your assigned IDA contact:
- USA, East Africa, Nigeria, DRC & Congo-Brazzaville, Middle East, Asia - Customerservice1@idafoundation.org
- Europe, Guinea Bissau, Equatoriale Guinea, Cape Verde, Angola - Customerservice2@idafoundation.org
- Latin America, Canada, West, Central & Southern Africa, the Pacifics - Customerservice3@idafoundation.org