DOH to probe reported COVID-19 outbreaks in mining sites
MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) will investigate the reported COVID-19 outbreaks in a number of mining sites in the country.
“We will be investigating these cases and we will be advising the employers of these mining employees so we can avoid similar situations from happening,” Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said partly in Filipino during an online media briefing Wednesday.
The Health official issued the statement after several mining companies, including Philex Mining and Apex Mining, reportedly suspended operations in their respective mines due to COVID-19 cases among their personnel.
In a disclosure, Philex said it has resumed partial operations after a two-day temporary suspension that paved the way for the implementation of measures to avoid the risk of community transmission to its employees and their families living within the Padcal Minesite in Tuba, Benguet.
Currently, there are 143 active cases in the mine site, consisting of both employees and from the community, according to Philex.
Meanwhile, Apex Mining said its Sangilo mine in Itogon, Benguet is included in the localized lockdown of Barangay Poblacion issued on October 23.
“As of 26 October, more than eighty COVID-19 positive cases have been recorded in the mine site. Management is still awaiting all results of the swab tests conducted by the Rural Health Unit (RHU),” Apex Mining said.
“Operation will resume upon completion of contact tracing and swab testing, and only those with negative results will be allowed to return to work,” it added.
According to Vergeire, the transmission of the coronavirus in mine tunnels is more likely to occur due to the sites’ enclosed spaces and lack of proper ventilation.
As of Wednesday, there are 375,180, confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide, including 329,111 recoveries and 7,114 deaths.
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