Firms get Covid-19 test reprieve Minister Mutsvangwa

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter

Companies opening under Level 2 of the Covid-19 national lockdown can now postpone testing until kits are accessible with employers, but must ensure staff undergo screening that involves temperature testing and hand sanitisation before they enter the workplace.

Cabinet made the adjustment yesterday to the conditions after realising that companies were facing difficulties in acquiring the rapid results test kits.

The testing requirement was only postponed, with companies still required to organise the rapid results tests as soon as this is reasonably possible.

After the Cabinet meeting, Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services Minister Monica Mutsvangwa said only workers with temperatures above the range set by the Ministry of Health of Health and Child Care would be required to undergo mandatory testing in a ministry facility.

“Statutory Instrument 99 of 2020 requires companies in the commercial and industrial sectors which are opening for the first time during the period of lockdown to have all their employees tested for the Covid-19 virus using the rapid results test,” said Minister Mutsvangwa.

“This is a condition precedent. It has since transpired that companies are experiencing difficulties in accessing the rapid results test kits for testing their employees.”

To allow commercial and industrial companies to re-open under the relaxation of the lockdown, “Government has decided that, pending companies acquiring the required test kits to test their employees, companies will be permitted to open subject to the following conditions being met in relation to their employees:

“Temperature tests upon entering work premises, hand sanitisers upon entry to sanitise their hands, each employee to wear a face mask in appropriate form and employees to practise social distancing in the work place.

“In the event that an employee has a temperature which is above that which the Ministry of Health and Child Care considers requires further testing, then such employee shall not be admitted to the work place, but shall immediately be referred to a facility of the Ministry of Health and Child Care to enable a Rapid Result Test, to be administered on such employee.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said in the event that the employee tested positive for the rapid results test, then the employee shall be referred to a place of quarantine in accordance with the procedures prescribed by the Ministry of Health and Child Care.

Said the Minister: “For the avoidance of doubt, companies shall remain under an obligation to subject all their employees to the rapid results tests as soon as reasonably possible during the period of the declaration of the Covid-19 virus as a formidable epidemic disease by the Minister of Health and Child Care.”

Minister Mutsvangwa said Cabinet agreed on the establishment of a local consortium of researchers drawn from IamBYO-Fighting Covid-19 initiative, the National University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Zimbabwe (UZ).

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