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MATSAPHA – An undisclosed number of textile factory workers have been placed in self quarantine following that one of their neighbours tested positive to COVID-19.

The textile workers were ordered to self-quarantine on Monday, following that one of the people they shared residential accommodation with, had tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease to see if they become sick. This step was ordered by one of the factories in Matsapha to their employees. The reasoning behind the implementation of the quarantine was said to have emanated from the fact that the textile factory employees resided with an individual who tested positive. Worth noting is that a majority of textile employees reside in one-room flats popularly known as Titimela. This type of residential accommodation has its tenants sharing lavatories and water taps, among many other things.


According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), such surfaces can keep the virus alive for up to eight hours, thus making it easy to contract if after touching the infected surface, one touches one’s face – mouth, nose or eyes – without washing hands with soap under running water. The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another and through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs. Meanwhile, it was said while implementing the self quarantine process among some of its employees to avert any possibility of multiple infections, a sense of panic was invoked among some of the textile factory employees.  This is because some of the employees were of the view that they had interacted with the quarantined workers. One of the employees said they raised their concerns with management because they feared for their lives. “Imagine if we contracted the virus and we are going about our duties without knowing as we are still within the two week period wherein the symptoms are not showing,” the employee said.


She expressed fear that this would spiral out of control as there were over 15 000 textile workers at the industrial site in Matsapha. A colleague shared the same sentiments citing that there were more employees who could have been exposed to the 31-year-old male confirmed on Saturday to have tested positive to COVID -19. The confirmation of the aforementioned male was made by the Minister of Health, Lizzie Nkosi. Meanwhile, according to an impeccable source within the ministry, the said individual had no history of travelling beyond the borders of the country, which raised suspicion that he could have contracted the virus from a variety of items including surfaces and or public transport. The source further alleged that the said individual could have infected many people unknowingly with the virus. On the other hand, means to get a comment from the management of the textile factory proved futile since the human resources manager referred all questions to the Ministry of Health.

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