Labour staff bemoans handling of Covid cases

By Shallot Mohutege

MINISTRY of Labour staff members are in panic as top management is keeping coronavirus positive and suspected cases a secret, it has been alleged.

According to an anonymous source, there have been more than three staff members who tested positive and some are in self-isolation, but the management is keeping this a secret from the rest of the staff members.

“We are very concerned about how Covid-19 issues are handled. There is no Covid-19 committee or task team to deal with Covid-19 cases at the office and keep communicating to the rest of the staff members if anything happened for staff members to take further precautionary measures to avoid further spread of the pandemic.

“We need to be kept informed like other ministries are doing for their staff members.

This is very important as we need to care for each other, pray for those who become victims and take extra precautionary measures in order to contain the further spread of the disease which is fast explosive (sic),” stated the source.

Confidente has come to learn that although the employees pleaded with the Executive Director

Bro-Matthew Shinguadja to start working on a rotational basis and for the whole ministry to be disinfected, it was not until a week later (after the others had tested positive) on August 28 that the staff members were informed that the office would be fumigated.

The source further stated that Shinguadja who met with more than 50 staff members outside the ministry building made the announcement that the office would be fumigated and instructed staff to go home that Friday and should return to work on Tuesday the following week.

“Shinguadja gathered about 50 of us (employees) in front of the ministry building and informed the staff members that the office is being fumigated and that we (the staff members) should go home. We didn’t get any further explanation from our ED or at least background information regarding what necessitated the fumigation,” explained the source. 

The source went on to say at the meeting,  one of the drivers requested the ED to also consider fumigating the cars as one of the vehicles was used to transport a staff member who had tested  positive for Covid-19. To which the ED responded that the driver ‘should use common sense’ and sanitise the vehicle as there would be no fumigation of vehicles.

Shinguadja however dismissed these claims and stated that the staff members were informed about the suspected cases, although he did however not mention the names according to protocol.

“They were told that there are suspected cases, I don’t have any confirmed cases. I just have suspected cases. We also contacted the Ministry of Health to come and fumigate.

“Regarding the car issue, I said, we have sanitiser in all our cars, and this sanitiser can be used to apply on the seats and steering wheels. They also did not tell me which car it was. So I said common sense. When you enter a car, whether it was used to transport an infected person or not, it is common sense to use sanitiser. I do not know if they want the car to be sprayed… besides the person who brought this up is not even a driver, because the drivers were not even at the office at that time” he said.

He further stated that the employees cannot expect the workplace and cars to be fumigated after every rumour and that sanitisers are the most effective way to prevent contracting Covid-19.

Shinguadja went on to say that the employees just want to work from home for no apparent reason, but when asked if they have been in contact with a positive person or that they should get tested they then refuse.