May 4, 2020

Zim companies in a fix over workers’ Covid-19 testing

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Takudzwa Chihambakwe

Zimbabwean companies are struggling to put together money needed to test workers for Covid-19.

The Southern African country has relaxed its lockdown, allowing some companies to reopen provided that they meet the requirement of testing every worker for the coronavirus.

However, with most companies already struggling to stay afloat the Employers Confederation of Zimbabwe says consultations needed to be made before announcing the new lockdown measures.

“This is one of those things that we thought that consultation would have been important. A lot of people are running around to find the cost and who can assist them. They also need to find out how frequent the tests are required. So we are in a bit of quandary now,” said EMCOZ president Israel Murefu.

 “Most companies are looking for quotations and depending on the figures they get they can then say that is it something affordable or not.”

In a statement Health Secretary, Dr Agnes Mahomva said the Covid-19 testing was mandatory.

 “As announced by President Mnangagwa the reopening of industry and commerce during the lockdown extension effective 4 May 2020, is premised on the mandatory testing of employers and employees. “The Ministry has put in place the following plan to ensure immediate implementation of this policy; Designated public health facilities that conduct routine screening and medical examination for workers will now also conduct Covid-19 rapid testing.

“To expedite the testing process, companies are encouraged to procure the rapid tests kits for themselves, guided by the Ministry in terms of test kits specification, employers must arrange with the designated testing facilities (public and private) for their employees to be tested at the agreed time at the facility or at the workplace,” she said.

Monday was the first day of Zimbabwe’s Level 2 lockdown, which among other things makes it compulsory for people to wear face masks.

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