JIS News

Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, has encouraged companies not to close workplaces when the coronavirus (COVID-19) is detected, as the Ministry and international health partners are recommending that cleaning can minimise the spread of the virus.

“Remove those who are positive. Stopping your business may be counterproductive. You might have to stop it every day because of the prevalence of the virus. During this phase, you want to discourage shutdowns, just observe the protocols consistently and frequently,” the Minister said.

Dr. Tufton, who toured the Seprod Group of Companies Bog Walk facilities, in St. Catherine on September 22, lauded the company for its adherence to the COVID-19 Workplace Protocols.

He said they are following the health and safety rules by ensuring that staff members are aware of their responsibility to protect themselves, and limit the spread of the virus.

“The response to the virus in this phase is not just a function of the Ministry of Health. It is clear that you have made a commitment at great cost to protect your employees, and your investment,” the Minister said, while speaking to the management team and staff of the company.

Dr. Tufton also commended Seprod for making special provisions for older staff members and persons with chronic conditions such as hypertension, kidney-related issues, cancer, and heavy smokers with lung ailments.

“Companies that track the wellness or health profile of their employees are going to be far better able to deal with a pandemic like this one, because [messages can be] tailor-made… to those individuals about additional precautions that they may need to take,” Dr. Tufton said.

Meanwhile, Group Chief Executive Officer of the company, Richard Pandohie, told JIS News that since March of this year, they have invested more than $60 million to purchase protective equipment, to provide transportation for staff members, and for public education, “to put our people in a position not to feel stigmatised if they catch the virus”.

“It is a cost, but it is part of keeping the company going,” Mr. Pandohie said.

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