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All factories instructed to follow strict health guidelines as Sri Lanka attempts to contain COVID-19

Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi

ECONOMYNEXT – Health Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi has advised all factories in Sri Lanka to follow strict health guidelines issued by the health ministry to prevent further transmission of COVID-19, the government said.

The minister conveyed the message to owners of garment factories located both inside and outside the free trade zone (FTZ) in a meeting held yesterday at the National Operation Centre for Prevention of COVID-19 Outbreak (NOCPCOC), a statement said.

“All factory owners are advised to strictly adhere to health guidelines and precautions as made mandatory by the government. All hygiene measures as advised by health authorities must be followed while ensuring their employees are examined at least thrice a day for fever and are not exposed to outsiders in society as much as possible,” the NOCPOC statement quoted Minister Wanniarachchi as saying.

Commenting on the ongoing situation in the Katunayaka free trade zone (FTZ), the minister said naval operational rooms in the Biyagama and Katunayake zones would conduct PCR tests inside the respective FTZ, enabling all workers to undergo PCR tests free of charge as another alternative arrangement to cut down the rush for such tests.

All state bodies and private companies are strictly advised to conduct temperature testing on employees at least thrice a day and carry out close inspection of their places of accommodation, close contacts and frequented public places. Constant change of working hours and shifts in factories to ease congestion in transport systems has also been advised, in addition to ensuring a clean supply of meals.

Wanniarachchi also advised factory management to immediately update employee records which will benefit in contact tracing if necessary.

The decision was taken after COVID-19 positive patients were identified in several apparel export companies in the Katunayake FTZ.

Factory management is also advised to strictly isolate factory areas and restrict entry of outsiders to their facilities to prevent transmission of the virus, the NOCPOC statement said.

Instructions have been issued to liaise closely with respective health authorities, Public Health Inspectors (PHIs), epidemiologists and other health and security officials to receive all updates and necessary instructions.

The emergency meeting was co-chaired by Secretary to the Ministry of Health Major General (Dr) Sanjeewa Munasinghe, NOCPCOC head Commander of the Army  Lieutenant General Shavendra Silva and the acting Director General of Health Services. (Colombo/Oct14/2020)





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