Filtered By: Money

Private firms start screening employees for COVID-19

Several firms have started to test their employees for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), following the easing of restrictions under the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ).

Metro Manila and several "high-risk areas" have been on lockdown since March 17. A modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) has been placed from May 15 to last until May 31, paving the way for more businesses to reopen.

In an emailed statement, Ayala-led Globe Telecom Inc. said it has started the weekly rapid antibody testing of its frontliners, equivalent to 15% of its 8,000 employees.

"The safety of our employees and the public are of paramount importance to us. That is why we have decided to do mass testing of our frontline workers on a weekly basis using the rapid antibody testing kits," said Globe chief human resource officer Renato Jiao.

The same was stated by the Villar Group of Companies, which said that its employees are now being screened using the rapid tests approved by the Food and Drug Adminstration (FDA).

"Before we resume our operations, we want to ensure the safety of our employees, and really make sure that our offices, our sites and workplaces are COVID-free," chairman Manuel Villar said in a separate email.

Meanwhile, diversified conglomerate San Miguel Corp. said it is now preparing for the return of its employees through the reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests deemed as the gold standard.

"We are prioritizing, first, our security and other maintenance staff, as they are the ones who take care of our workplace. After them, we test our colleagues whose duties require them to report to the office," said SMC president and chief operating officer Ramon Ang.

"Initially we are looking at only 20% of our head office population to report for work. Majority will still continue to work-from home," he added.

Earlier this week, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said the government will not shoulder the cost of mass testing of employees returning to work. --KBK, GMA News