Monday, 11 May 2020

Cape Town: The Department of Employment and Labour has closed its labour centre in Bellville, Cape Town, after an employee tested positive for COVID-19.

The Department in a statement issued on Monday said closing down the centre would allow for the testing of all workers who may have been in contact with the affected employee to be tested and monitored.

The Bellville office will during closure also be deep-cleaned and disinfected.

The said employee did not interact with members of the public.

The department’s Director-General, Thobile Lamati, said the employee, who works at the Compensation Fund in Pretoria, was caught up in the lockdown period while visiting family in Cape Town.

As a result, she was placed to work at the Bellville Labour Centre to enable her to continue to do her duties.

“As we have indicated before, while labour centres have been closed for general public traffic, our officials have continued work in the background, capturing information and thus ensuring that there is no major disruption of services for our clients. It follows then that the said employee did not have any interaction with the members of the public,” said Lamati.

However, the employee interacted with 36 staff members who were working at the labour centre.

The department has referred all staff who worked at the centre for testing at the state’s expense.

“The employee first reported sick on April 28. When limited travel was allowed as a result of the lowering of the Alert Level to 4, she travelled back to Gauteng on May 1.

On 3 May she displayed symptoms of flu and took flu medication but her symptoms worsened.

“Two days later, she had shortness of breath and coughing and was taken to the doctor, where she was tested and diagnosed with pneumonia, and admitted at the Charlotte Maxeke Hospital in Johannesburg. COVID-19 tests were conducted. On 6 May she was transferred to the ICU for ventilation and her COVID-19 tests results came back positive on Friday 8 May,” he said.

The case has been reported to the Centre for Communicable Disease both in Gauteng and in Cape Town and the family has been kept informed of the developments.