BY Melody Shumba, ZiMining Reporter
The Covid 19 pandemic, that has left thousand dead in the world, is slowly making inroad into the mining with some cases already reported in mines threatening production.
The disease was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in March this year following a rise in cases worldwide. Who set out health guideline to be followed in a measure to contain the spread of the virus.
President Emmerson Mnangagwa declared the mining an essential service during the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown.
Cases continue to rise in Zimbabwe with over 90 deaths so far recorded in more than 4000 cases reported.
How Mine has been forced to isolate after 24 employees tested positive to the corona virus while one employee at Hwange Colliery Company tested positive to the virus.
In an internal memo gleaned by ZiMining, How Mine Manager E Gwatidzo notified its staff that the mine has been placed on isolation and will not be open to outsiders for about 10 days.
“Over the past weeks the country has recorded a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases. How Mine has not been spared of the same challenge recording 24 positive cases as at 5 August 2020.
“As a result of this sudden spike in Covid-19 positive cases within the mine community, the Ministry of Health and Child Care has recommended that the mine be isolated from the outside world for a period of 10 days with effect from Thursday 6 August 2020.
“During the enhanced lockdown, only medical emergencies and other identified disciplines will be allowed to leave or enter the mine in the process of performing their critical tasks,” wrote Gwatidzo.
Hwange Colliery Company Limited Corporate Affairs Manager Rugare Chikede Dhobie also confirmed a case at their mine.
“Hwange Colliery Company Limited wishes to advise stakeholders that it has recorded its first Covid-19 case, an underground employee (tested positive to Corona Virus).
“He is clinically stable and is isolating at home. Our rapid response team is monitoring the employee following national guidelines,” she said.
Ms Dhobie said the company was conducting contact tracing to identify other employees who might have been exposed to the virus.
“As per Ministry of Health and Child Care guidance, the company is also implementing contact tracing to facilitate the identification of individuals who might have been exposed to the affected employee.
“HCCL is also implementing measures on disinfection and testing,” she said.
The health of Hwange Colliery staff, Ms Dhobie said, was the company’s primary concern.
She said the company has a vision of zero harm at the mine.
“The well-being of all staff is our primary concern. For this reason, going forward all, staff with remote work capabilities are expected to work from home. Only critical staff will physically report for duty.
“AS HCCL, zero harm continues to be our mantra: we eat, live and breathe safety in all our operations,” she said.
President Mnangagwa has introduced stringent health measure such as lockdown, Curfew between 6pm and 6am, compulsory wearing of masks in public, hands washing and sanitizing.