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South Africa’s employment and labour department on Thursday stressed that workers who had been diagnosed with Covid-19 could only return to their jobs after completing 14 days of self-isolation and undergoing a medical examination

The department issued its statement in the wake of local media reports suggesting that Covid-19 patients no longer needed to test negative to resume work.

In a statement, the department’s chief inspector for health and safety Tibor Szana said this was not correct.

“In terms on the new directions, if a worker has been diagnosed with Covid-19 and isolated in accordance with the guidelines, an employer may only allow a worker to return on condition that, the worker has completed the mandatory 14 days of self-isolation,” Szana said.

In addition, such workers must have undergone medical evaluation confirming fitness to work if they had moderate or severe illness in relation to the coronavirus.

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Surgical mask required

Szana said the employees were also required to wear a surgical mask at least for the period of 21 days from the date of diagnosis “in their interest and the best interest of those around them especially”.

The new directive also states that those who have been in contact at the workplace with those diagnosed with Covid-19 must have their exposure assessed to ascertain the risk of transmission.

“If there is low risk exposure, the employer may permit the worker to continue working using a cloth mask complying with standard precautions and, the workers symptoms must be monitored for 14 days from the first contact,” said Szana.

“If there is high risk of exposure the worker must remain in quarantine for 14 days, and the employer of that worker must place the worker on sick leave.”

Author: ANA Newswire