Thursday, 7 May 2020

TESTS : EMPLOYERS GIVEN 14 DAYS


 All employers of reopened businesses have 14 days from today to have themselves and their staff screened and tested for Covid-19, in terms of an amendment to the lockdown regulations gazetted yesterday that implement Tuesday’s Government policy of allowing testing to be postponed.

The Health Ministry will arrange the times and places for testing if contacted by employers.

The testing was postponed after most employers reported at the beginning of the week that there were problems in finding test kits or arranging testing, hence the more central role the Government is now taking to help arrange tests.

The amendment, in Statutory Instrument 102, the seventh amendment to the original lockdown regulations, and issued by Minister of Health and Child Care Obidiah Moyo, states that the tests must use the rapid results diagnostic test or any other test approved by the minister.
  
The regulations assume that businesses open from today, although the 14-day clock starts from a later re-opening date if a business can prove to an enforcement officer that they did open after today.

Employers may arrange, said the amendment, with enforcement officers for the testing to take place at an agreed time at the workplace or at any other agreed place, and to make these arrangements they may contact the Ministry of Health Call Centre or the Ministry of Information Call Centre;

The Health Minister can also order retesting done at intervals of not less than 30 days.

In the meantime employers have to ensure that staff entering their premises have their hands sanitised and their temperature checked. 

Evidence of tests has to be documented and produced on demand to enforcement officers. Businesses which fail to prove staff were tested within 14 days from today, or from the actual re-opening if this was later, can be closed and staff sent home within the hour. The business cannot then re-open until all staff deemed exempted from the lockdown have been tested and proof can be given.

Anyone hindering an enforcement officer, or any employer staying open after being ordered to close, is guilty of an offence and this can attract the standard lockdown breach penalties of a fine up to level 12, imprisonment up to a year, or both. Herald

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