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Factory closes after workers test positive

2020-06-26  Eveline de Klerk

Factory closes after workers test positive
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WALVIS BAY - A Walvis Bay-based fishing factory temporarily closed down yesterday after four workers tested positive for Covid-19, while 79 others were told to self-isolate pending their results. 
 National Union of Namibian Workers (Nunw) vice president Phillip Munenguni had demanded the closure of the Tunacor factory to ensure the safety of workers. 

 Munenguni yesterday told New Era that he had meetings with the employees and management but that the company was still operating yesterday afternoon and only cancelled their night shift operations.
 “We want them to close like Pereira Fishing to ensure that they do everything necessary to ensure their employees’ safety,” he said.
 Tunacor CEO Peya Hitula initially said that such drastic measures were not necessary as the four positive cases are community transmissions and that they took all the precautionary measures.

 Hitula said that they immediately acted by isolating the immediate contacts of the four individuals at the factory.
 “As a result and to ensure the safety of the whole staff, we sent home a total of 70 employees so that they can self-isolate while waiting to be tested as well, Hitula explained on Wednesday afternoon.
 Apart from that, he said they disinfected the factory during every break time in conjunction with other safety measures that have already been in place.

 “Tunacor as a responsible corporate entity takes the health and safety of our employees very seriously. We have a Covid-19 business continuity plan which has been in place since 1 March 2020 and this plan has been inspected and shared with the health ministry who conducted several Covid-19 information-sharing sessions with our employees on the risks and mitigating measures they can implement to reduce possible transmission,” Hitula added.

 He added their 2 350 employees are all supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment.
 In a letter seen yesterday, Hitula indicated that Tunacor with the health ministry collaborated to assess the situation of the employees.
 “Hence these employees will not return to work until their quarantine has lapsed and Tunacor will stop its operations to conduct additional disinfection of its factory.
Meanwhile, health minister Dr Kalumbi Shangula yesterday announced that Namibia recorded 26 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 102.  
The cases involved 22 people from Walvis Bay, 
two from Swakopmund, while two cases were picked up in a Windhoek quarantine facility.

2020-06-26  Eveline de Klerk

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