Unichela Panadura says 85 employees infected so far

Unichela in Panadura says 85 of its employees have been infected by the coronavirus so far.

Issuing a statement, MAS Holdings said that as the number of COVID-19 cases in the Western Province continues to increase, the management of MAS is closely monitoring a developing situation at its manufacturing facility Unichela in Panadura.

As at date, due to contact tracing and testing activity that has taken place, 85 COVID-19 positive people have been recorded among employees of the plant.

The management of Unichela has been in close contact with Public Health authorities since the first case were detected and has been operating as per their guidelines in terms of contact tracing, quarantine protocols and business continuity.

The initial detection occurred when an employee with a fever was stopped at the plant entrance and was re-directed to a local hospital and later confirmed as COVID-19 positive. Contact tracing and testing over the next few days resulted in a total of 85 cases. 1,123 PCR tests were conducted, and no further results are pending.

While the plant operates with extensive COVID-19 preventive measures in place and close contacts already being in self-quarantine, to halt any further spread among the employees and community, the management temporarily stopped employees in the affected shift from coming to the plant on the 15th of December as an added precaution, MAS Holdings said.

COVID-19 positive employees and their immediate family members who also tested positive are currently being transferred to the MAS COVID-19 Care Centre in Giriulla, which is operated by the Ministry of Health, based upon the severity of their symptoms and in consultation with the PHI.

As agreed with the local health authorities, the plant was closed on the 22nd December, in advance of its pre-scheduled annual maintenance closure as well as the seasonal holidays and during this time additional decontamination procedures will also be carried out within the plant.

MAS Holdings said that further PCR testing will be done on returning employees prior to recommencing their duties. (Colombo Gazette)

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