Sea Harvest in Saldanha Bay closed its fresh fish factory after nearly 100 staff tested positive for the corona virus.
The company says since the outbreak of the pandemic, 97 out of about 4,443 employees have been tested positive for the virus. Most of them are from Saldanha Bay.
Sea Harvest says in a statement it closes the factory’s doors until additional measures, which the Department of Labor prescribed after a visit, were put into effect on Wednesday.
On Monday, the company sent an invitation to the department to inspect its facilities in Saldanha Bay due to the increase in infections.
Group chief executive Felix Ratheb says the company reported its first confirmed case on May 24, about 60 days after the restraining measures were implemented.
According to Ratheb, the infestation unfortunately increased sharply as it spread in the community where most of their workforce comes from.
“In our lifetime, we have never run a business in the midst of a pandemic of this magnitude. We all try our best to secure our employees and keep our business viable.”
According to Sea Harvest operations director Terence Brown, they were able to detect, isolate and control positive Covid-19 cases because of their extensive medical examinations, including temperature measurements and the deployment of additional medical personnel.
“In accordance with our Covid-19 protocols, our clinic identifies people who are showing symptoms. The person is then sent home for self-isolation.
“We then send people for private tests to ensure that action is taken quickly to facilitate strict contact detection and to adequately combat the number of infections among our staff,” Brown said.
According to him, their Covid-19 protocols have been applied since March and are constantly being reviewed and improved.
“However, the reality is that we can only fight this virus if we keep our social distance, wear masks, wash hands and constantly disinfect – whether at work or at home in our communities.
“We are aware of the risk of public transport for the transmission of the virus. That’s why we made special arrangements for our staff to be transported privately with local taxis. ”
Staff are also provided with personal protective equipment and disinfectants to ensure that they are able to maintain social distance and apply personal hygiene at all times.
According to Sea Harvest, all of its medical interventions are supported by a dedicated “Covid-19 cleaning team” who continuously disinfects all surfaces in their production facilities, kitchens, stairs, lockers and ablution facilities through an external cleaning contractor.
Self-insulated staff also receive a care package, which includes food and hygiene supplies and personal protective equipment.
Before staff can go back to work, they must first be declared medically fit.