Coronavirus – South Africa: Employment and Labour confirms positive case of Coronavirus COVID-19 on employee

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A labour centre where one of the employees of the Department of Employment and Labour tested positive for COVID-19 has been closed. This is to allow for all the workers who may have been in contact with the affected employee to be tested, monitored and for the offices to be deep cleaned and disinfected.

The said employee did not interact with the members of the public.

According to the Director General of the Department, Thobile Lamati, the employee who works at the Compensation Fund in Pretoria was caught up in the lockdown period while visiting family in Cape Town. As a result, she was placed to work at the Bellville Labour Centre to enable her to continue to do her work.

“As we have indicated before, while labour centres have been closed for general public traffic, our officials have continued work in the background, capturing information and thus ensuring that there is no major disruption of services for our clients. It follows then that the said employee did not have any interaction with the members of the public.

“However, she did interact with other staff members who were working at the labour centre – 36 in total though she worked closely with only 20 staff members. We have referred all staff who worked there for testing.

“The employee first reported sick on April 28. When limited travel was allowed as a result of the lowering of the Alert Level to 4, she travelled back to Gauteng on May 1. On 3 May she displayed symptoms of flu and took flu medication but her symptoms worsened. 

“Just as we announced in preparing South Africa for eased restrictions, it is almost inevitable that some of us may be infected and affected. What is critical is how we respond. With all the given circumstances, the department has responded in the way that is expected which is to follow the laid down protocols. Although Occupational Health and Safety Act requires employers to review and update risk assessments on a regular basis, the new hazard posed by COVID-19 is clearly identifiable and the basic measures to eliminate or minimise the risk are now well known,” said Lamati.

The case has been reported to the Centre for Communicable Disease both in Gauteng and in Cape Town and the family has been kept informed of the developments. 

Issued by: Department of Employment and Labour

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South African Government.

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