VW and Mondelez report positive cases

Image: REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/File Photo

Big industry in the Bay is the latest to be hit by Covid-19 with Volkswagen SA and Mondelez International saying some of their staff members had tested positive.

On Thursday, Mondelez confirmed that an employee at its Port Elizabeth  confectionery  manufacturing facility had tested positive for Covid-19.

The company’s manager of corporate and government affairs in South, Central, and East Africa, Navisha Bechan-Sewkuran, said the employee was in isolation and in good health.

At the same time, VWSA SA reported two new cases.

Bechan-Sewkuran said 31 other employees  had been traced after coming into contact with the employee  and asked to self-isolate.

Mondolez staff members, who asked not to be named, on Thursday expressed concern that they were not being tested.

Bechan-Sewkuran said the health and safety of the employees was the company’s main priority, adding the necessary precautions would be taken to safeguard employees.

“In line with the business’s protocols, close contacts have been tracked and traced.

“All regulations and provisions for a positive Covid-19 case have been fully observed and implemented, including all areas in which the infected employee was present being decontaminated.

“It is important to note that the employee did not enter any production areas,” Bechan-Sewkuran said.

She said Mondelez International had sanitation processes in place that superseded the prescribed regulations.

Volkswagen SA spokesperson Andile Dlamini  confirmed that the motor giant had two new Covid-19 cases.

“The first case involves an employee of an in-house supplier.

“Six direct contacts, two VWSA employees and four supplier employees have been identified through the contact tracing protocols and are in isolation.

“The second case involves an external supplier and happened outside the factory.

“Six direct contacts, one a VWSA employee and five contracted employees, have been identified and are in isolation,” Dlamini said.

Dlamini said VWSA had put comprehensive Covid-19 measures in place to ensure the health and safety of its staff.

“The measures include ensuring the readiness of our internal medical centre to deal with the pandemic, an intense communication campaign aimed at employees and their loved ones, facilitating work from home, temperature checks of all employees before entering VWSA premises, the mandatory wearing of masks provided by the company, provision of hand sanitisers and signage to encourage social distancing,” he said.

Dlamini said an in-house doctor dealt with all suspected Covid-19 cases in accordance with  department of health and  NICD Covid-19 guidelines.

VWSA had two cases of Covid-19 before production resumed on May 4,  Dlamini said,  adding that those employees were not in contact with VWSA staff members and had recovered.

“One of the employees has returned to work after having tested negative on a retest and the other is expected to be back at work next week,” he said.

By Zizonke May

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