8,000 workers moved to curb virus spread

THOUSANDS of expatriate workers staying in cramped labour camps have been provided with new accommodation as part of efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19), according to a top minister.

The initiative was aimed at reducing overcrowding at labour camps, said Labour and Social Development Minister Jameel Humaidan, noting that as many as 8,011 workers have been provided with new accommodation at their work establishments or companies.

He said a number of companies had responded positively to the campaign, launched by his ministry in co-operation with the Interior Ministry, to protect the health of migrant workers while also taking measures to contain the spread of Covid-19.

“Many employers were quick to implement precautionary measures necessary to combat this pandemic by providing additional accommodation to reduce congestion and through those efforts 8,011 labourers were relocated,” he said yesterday.

“Other establishments moved labourers to vacant rooms within the same camp, and establishments that don’t commit to the safety and health of workers – whether in housing or at work sites – will be held accountable.”

The minister underlined the importance of employers stepping up their efforts to adopt precautionary measures and ensure the protection of workers through adherence to social distancing at workplaces and labour camps.

He also highlighted that a special team of inspectors and occupational safety engineers was set up to intensify communication with establishments to ensure the implementation of guidelines to achieve the highest levels of safety and protection for workers.

Meanwhile, Mr Humaidan urged the private sector to activate working remotely wherever possible, to reduce the number of employees at workplaces while also maintaining levels of productivity.

He also urged employers to check the body temperature of their employees, make face masks compulsory, install hand sanitisers at entry and exit points, emphasise social distancing and prevent the crowding of workers in closed areas.

He said the ministry had followed up on the private establishments’ sanitisation of 793 labour accommodations, and allocation of precautionary quarantine spaces at these camps.

“The ministry has also contacted 1,055 work sites at many companies and institutions to ensure they are constantly sanitised, and emphasise the importance of spreading awareness among workers on ways to prevent infectious and communicable diseases.

“Precautionary measures such as wearing masks and temperature checks along with sanitisers are crucial. Social distancing needs to be maintained while avoiding crowding.”

“Awareness campaigns were also carried out in line with the national campaign to combat Covid-19 through printing and distributing more than 400,000 awareness booklets targeting 350,000 expatriate workers in various languages.

“Communication with employers was also intensified to ensure precautionary and preventive measures are carried out at labour camps such as ensuring that a four-square-metre space is provided per worker in rooms at labour camps.”

The GDN reported last Monday that authorities had pledged a ‘zero tolerance’ approach against companies and landlords who cramped workers in unsafe labour accommodations.

The government had also set up designated shelters to relocate thousands of workers, as part of contingency plans to reduce overcrowding in labour camps and contain the spread of Covid-19.

MPs had also called for stepped-up inspections of labour accommodations following a reported surge in active Covid-19 cases among migrant workers.


Source: http://www.gdnonline.com/Details/824164/8,000-workers-moved-to-curb-virus-spread


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