Almost 15,000 workers in Bicol to take regular COVID-19 tests
LEGAZPI CITY –– Nearly 15,000 workers in hundreds of private establishments in Bicol will undergo regular coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testings to prevent the spread of the virus in workplaces, the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) in Bicol said on Monday.
Johanna Vi Gasga, DOLE Bicol spokesperson, said DOLE and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) signed a Joint Memorandum Circular No. 20-04 series of 2020, issuing supplemental guidelines on workplace prevention and control measures against the spread of COVID-19.
Under the DTI-DOLE joint agreement, workers in the hospitality and tourism sectors, manufacturing companies, including frontline and economic priority employees, would be required to undergo regular COVID tests to ensure the safety of the employees.
Gasga, in an interview Monday, said 99 inspectors from DOLE and DTI were dispatched on August 14 to serve notice and conduct inspections to some 853 establishments across the region to ensure that strict compliance with the joint circular.
She said the inspection showed that of the total inspected establishments, only 63 percent had compliance rate after 313 establishments were found to have deficiencies in complying with the minimum health standards set by the Joint Agreement.
Under the circular, employers are required to undergo regular COVID-19 tests for their employees.
“The COVID test must be at no cost to the employees,” the directive said.
Aside from the COVID-19 test, the employer would supply free the proper use of Personal Protective Equipments (PPE) such as face mask and face shields and the physical distancing guidelines.
Identified to undergo real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT–PCR test), are workers in tourist zones, local manufacturing companies, transport and logistics, food retail, education, financial services, non-food retail, services, public market, construction; water supply, sewerage, and waste management; public sector, and mass media.
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