South Africa has reached what was supposed to be the final day of the government-mandated lockdown, before President Ramaphosa extended it to 30 April. Despite every effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, however, more essential workers are contracting the disease. On Tuesday, 12 staff members at Mediclinic Morningside reportedly tested positive for the virus. Earlier this month, TimesLive reported that 66 people had tested positive for it at St Augustine Hospital in Durban, KwaZulu-Natal.
Two days ago, a Dis-Chem outlet at the BluBird Shopping Centre in Birnam, Johannesburg, was forced to close after one of its staff members tested positive for the virus. And now Tiger Brands in Durban has announced that its own employees have contracted it.
“Tiger Brands confirms that it will temporarily close its Durban Bakery as a precautionary measure after some staff members tested positive for COVID-19. The company has taken this decision in line with best-practice protocols and in the interest of the health and safety of all its employees at the bakery, which is its biggest priority,” the organisation announced.
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This isn’t the first time Tiger Brands has been involved in a health crisis. In 2018 it was embroiled in a food safety scandal when an outbreak of listeriosis – a potentially deadly infection caused by eating contaminated food – was traced back to its Enterprise meat factory in Polokwane.
“The company has put in place measures to support all staff while they undergo COVID-19 testing. All protocols and regulatory requirements, as mandated by the Department of Health and the National Institute for Communicable Diseases – have been followed,” it added.
The company says alternative arrangements will be made to supply its Durban customer base from its other facilities.