Amid COVID-19 spread, firms urged to house staff near workplace


Posted at Mar 19 2020 01:49 AM

Manufacturers with sufficient inventories asked to suspend ops

MANILA - Companies allowed to operate during the "enhanced community quarantine" in Luzon were urged to house their employees and staff near their workplace to limit the movement of people and avoid infections of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In a press briefing late Wednesday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez requested firms -- like manufacturers of basic necessities, food enterprises, logistics companies -- to find shelter for their workers inside or near their workplace.

"Para talagang wala masyadong movement at di magkahawaan," Lopez said. "Para di na ho gumagalaw, di na ho bumabiyahe ng malayo, di na sumasakay sa public, baka may makatabi pang [infected]."

He also suggested that firms and local government units provide shuttle service for their workers. Employees can be fetched from and to chosen places, he added.

Meanwhile, companies with full inventories of essential goods were asked to suspend manufacture of their products and let their inventories supply the demand.

"Yung inventory ninyo yung mag-susupply sa requirements ng mga supermarket. Malaki ang maitutulong niyo sa pagbawas ng population na lumalabas pa," Lopez said.

"Yung mga may 1-month, 2-month inventory ng finished goods, I suggest mag-holiday muna ang kompanya at hayaan ang imbentaryo ang lumabas."

The trade chief earlier clarified that producers of basic goods needed in the time of COVID-19-- like food, medicine, disinfectants -- will be allowed to continue manufacturing operations under the quarantine in Luzon.

He said however that exempting all manufacturers of products that are not necessary may lead to a having many workers moving around, which could lead to more people getting infected.

The island of Luzon was placed under enhanced quarantine on Tuesday after cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines increased since March 6.

As of Wednesday, 202 cases were recorded in the Philippines with 17 deaths, the health department said.