COVID-19 test for people returning to work pushed

A lawmaker proposed testing for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) of employees that will return to work after the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ).

San Jose del Monte Rep. Florida Robes said workers who cannot work from home and are required to be physically present in their places of work should be tested first for COVID-19 to ensure that they are fit to work and will not spread the virus.

The ECQ will end by April 30 and the national government is still studying if another lockdown will be imposed.

Robes said COVID-19 testing should be conducted on workers who need to be physically present in their respective work stations like those working in manufacturing firms, transportation, agricultural and construction sectors, food processing, warehousing and logistics among others.

“These workers, who are usually under a no-work-no-pay employment scheme, should get tested first before they are allowed to go back in order to ensure their own safety and that of their co-workers and their clients,” Robes said.

With the increased capacity of testing in Metro Manila and other parts of the country, Robes stated the Departments of Health and Labor and Employment with the help of local government units prior to the lifting of the ECQ, may conduct the mass tests that will prioritize these workers to enable them to go back to work together with People under Investigation (PUIs) and People under Monitoring (PUMs).

“Mass testing has been one of the primary measures being pushed by health experts before a partial lifting of the ECQ is done and since we need to be able to reopen the economy the soonest possible time, priority should be given to those who need to report for work outside of their residence together with the PUMs and PUIs,” Robes stressed.