Tunacor closes temporarily

76 workers in quarantine

28 June 2020 | Fishing

Peya Hitula, Tunacor CEO, “We take the health and safety of our employees very seriously”

Walvis Bay • [email protected]

The Tunacor fishing factory temporarily closed its doors after four of its employees tested positive for the coronavirus.

These employees were part of 14 cases announced by the minister of health on Thursday morning.

Tunacor chief executive Peya Hitula said that the two registered nurses who operate from Tunacor’s on-site clinic received information that there was suspected community transmission in Kuisebmond.

“With this information, Tunacor contacted the Erongo Covid-19 task team and informed them of the situation. Seventy-nine employees were immediately removed from the production area and sent to the medical team based at the Walvis Bay state hospital for screening and testing.”

Hitula confirmed that four of the 79 employees tested positive for Covid-19.

“All remaining employees are currently in quarantine and awaiting results. They will not return to work until their quarantine has lapsed. Tunacor also resolved to stop its operations to conduct the disinfection of its factory.”

According to Hitula, the night shift at the factory was stopped and the management set plans in motion to close the factory for disinfection as soon as the results became known on Thursday morning.

“We take the health and safety of our employees very seriously. We have a Covid-19 plan which has been in place since 1 March 2020. This plan has been inspected and shared with health and local authorities. Additionally, Tunacor has conducted several Covid-19 information sharing sessions with the employees on the risks and mitigating measures that they can implement to reduce possible transmission. All our employees are supplied with appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE) and our factory is disinfected five times a day.”

Tunacor officials met with governor Neville Andre to briefe him on the situation at the factory on Wednesday.

The president of the National Union of Namibian Workers Phillip Munengune called for the closure of the factory after the news broke of the 76 workers placed in quarantine. Munengune emphasised that the safety of workers should remain a priority.

Hitula said that Tunacor has not laid off any employees.

“We will make use of the disinfection time to continue educating our workforce on Covid-19. It is unfortunate that certain individuals are trying to use Covid-19 as a weapon to sow confusion. Covid-19 is here to stay.”

Tunacor employs 2 200 employees at its factory in Walvis Bay.

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