COVID-19 infection among workers surges in Luzon
The Batangas City government has stopped construction work at a petrochemical company after several workers, among them foreigners, contracted the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19).
In a statement, the Gokongwei-led JG Summit Petrochemicals Group (JGSPG) said it was “expeditiously addressing and discussing the issues flagged” in its plant expansion project at Barangay Simlong in the city.
The company said it was working to resolve the situation “sometime soon [or] the latest this week.”Armando Lazarte, head of the city’s pandemic monitoring team, said 10 more workers tested positive for the virus since Mayor Beverley Dimacuha issued on Aug. 11 a 14-day suspension of construction work.
This brought the number of workers infected at the site to 70, including 27 Indonesians who were quarantined in a pension house in the city.The Indonesians were employees of AG&P (Atlantic, Gulf & Pacific Co.), a multinational gas logistics firm, while others were Filipinos under the construction firm DM Consunji Inc. (DMCI).
AG&P and DMCI were among the contractors and subcontractors in the P32-billion expansion project of JGSPG’s naphtha cracker facility that was started in 2017.The Department of Health said Batangas recorded 2,000 cases as of Aug. 17, including 414 traced to Batangas City.
In Subic Bay Freeport, 14 workers have been infected with COVID-19, forcing the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) to impose mass testing for other workers at a container terminal there.
Wilma Eisma, SBMA chair and administrator, on Monday said the workers were all employees of Subic Bay International Terminal Corp. (SBITC), which was ordered to disinfect and temporarily close some of its facilities to contain the transmission.
Eisma said the COVID-19 outbreak began when a worker from SBITC, who had no history of travel to any high-risk area, manifested symptoms of the disease and tested positive for the virus.
It was not immediately known how the worker was infected. The other cases were the patient’s fellow workers and close contacts who had contracted the virus between Aug. 4 and Aug. 7.
Eisma said more than 200 SBITC employees, including shift workers, port users, security personnel, canteen staff and SBMA checkers, would be subjected to reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction test.
In Olongapo City, 50 healthcare workers at James L. Gordon Memorial Hospital were forced to go on 14-day quarantine starting Monday after they were exposed to a 75-year-old dialysis patient who was infected with COVID-19.
Dr. Jewel Manuel, hospital chief, said that among the quarantined staff were 16 doctors and 32 nurses.
—Reports from Maricar Cinco and Joanna Rose Aglibot
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