Unilever South Africa has confirmed that 30 of its employees and 12 contractors tested positive for Covid-19 at its factory in Boksburg, Ekurhuleni.
Corporate affairs and sustainable business director South Africa Shobna Persadh told News24 on Tuesday: “An employee at the plant first reported a positive test for Covid-19 the weekend before Easter, a week after the employee was last on-site.
“In line with the established NICD [National Institute for Communicable Diseases] protocols, Unilever South Africa immediately traced all the direct contacts and advised them to self-isolate.”
As a result, operations at the Boksburg plant were paused to undertake a deep clean.
“This was a company decision as the well-being of employees remains a top priority and every precaution is being taken to keep them safe.
“We also recognise that our products are needed to combat the coronavirus and we are committed to maintain supplies of essential goods under safe conditions,” she further explained.
A full testing and tracing programme launched by Unilever together with the department of health for approximately 680 employees and contractors found that 30 employees and 12 contractors tested positive for the virus.
“They will remain in quarantine until cleared to return to work. Our thoughts are with them for a speedy recovery,” said Persadh.
Unilever South Africa further stated that it allegedly received clearance to reopen the plant following a meeting with health authorities on Wednesday.
News24 was unable to get confirmation from the Gauteng department of health at the time of publication. Once the department’s comment on the matter is received, it will be added.