32 North West mineworkers quarantined as two test positive for Covid-19

By Baldwin Ndaba Time of article published May 21, 2020

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Pretoria - The North West government has ordered the placement of 32 mineworkers into quarantine after two of them tested positive for Covid-19 during a screening and testing process at their workplace at the Setlagole mine outside Mahikeng.

North West Health MEC Madoda Sambatha said the two miners who tested positive were part of 500 mineworkers who reported for work this week at a Harmony Gold Mine - KalGold in Setlagole - outside Mahikeng, in the North West. 

Sambatha said all 500 were subjected to screening and testing for the virus.

He maintained that the results came back and only two tested positive.

Sambatha, however, said he instructed Harmony Gold and the district health to place 20 other employees who were working in the same unit with the positive patients.

He added that the other 10 patients were contracted to the mine and had contact with the 22 employees.

“We decided to place all 32 of them in quarantine. I have also asked the mine management and the district health officials to trace people who had contact with the 32 mineworkers. The mine does not provide accommodation. The employees live in the village. It was necessary for us to trace some of the villagers who had contact with the miners,” Sambatha said.

According to Sambatha, those who were able to self-isolate for a period of 14 days, were allowed to do so while others were placed in a state facility.

Harmony Gold spokesperson Sihle Maake confirmed the two cases at their facility.

“The employees, both of whom were asymptomatic, were identified as positive through the company’s joint testing process conducted in collaboration with the Department of Health. Harmony will continue its routine screening and testing at the mines in line with our Covid-19 Standard Operating Procedure.

“The two employees have been immediately placed in self-isolation and those who were in close contact with them have been identified and will be placed in quarantine while awaiting their test results.

“We are providing all the necessary support, including medical care, to our two colleagues during the isolation,” Maake said.

He said the workshop where the two employees work “has all the necessary personal protective equipment and personal hygiene measures."

He, however, said to ensure the safety of employees, the workshop was undergoing a deep cleaning and disinfecting of all the tools and the equipment to make certain that the whole facility and surrounding areas are fully decontaminated and would remain temporarily closed to allow the decontamination process to be completed.


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