Brazilian business leaders urge restraint in coronavirus measures

Brazilian business leaders urge restraint in coronavirus measures

Corporate & Sovereign Strategy Economy & Policy Coronavirus Regulation Brazil Latin America

Representatives from Brazil's largest corporations are pushing for moderate measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 in order to ensure supply chains continue to function and the economy avoids a sharp drop.

Shareholders, chairmen and CEOs from 32 companies met via a video conference call on Tuesday to discuss the impact of containment measures to prevent the spread of the disease, the trade association Federation of Industries of the State of São Paulo (FIESP) said in a press release.

As the coronavirus has spread in Brazil, public events, shopping centers, restaurants, schools and public spaces have closed. Companies have encouraged staff to work from home and provided resources, such as health screening, hand sanitizer and face masks, to other workers.

"Social isolation and the preservation of lives depend on maintaining the logistics and production chains," Federal Supreme Court (STF) President Dias Toffoli during the call, according to FIESP.

Paulo Moll, founder of the private healthcare provider Rede D'Or São Luiz, said demand for medical supplies from state authorities for up to 100% of existing stock are straining supplies and production facilities. "This breaks the entire supply chain to hospitals," he said.

JBS, the largest meatpacking company in the world, is keeping 120,000 employees on the clock "since food is essential and the production process involves an integrated chain with 10,000 families of rural producers integrated in the pork, poultry chain, and more than 35,000 cattle ranchers," said Wesley Batista Filho, son of the former CEO and head of the processed foods unit Seara.

Other participants in the call argued for better coordination and a clearer allocation of responsibilities between municipal, state and federal authorities to quickly resolve any legal issues arising from the outbreak.

Josué Gomes da Silva, CEO of textile manufacturer Coteminas, said the pact between the three levels of government is fundamental for the return of investor confidence to ensure the economy recovers once the worst part of the crisis is over.

Brazil had 2,915 confirmed cases and 77 deaths from COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the Health Ministry.