In the course of the past month or so, you would have heard about the Covid positive cases that we detected in our Berjayapak manufacturing premises in Penang.
We uncovered these cases when we voluntarily undertook testing for all our employees, both local and foreign.
But what is more important than uncovering cases is what we are doing to protect the people around us.
We are not the first nor will we be the last company to experience Covid positive cases in the business environment but we would like to reassure all customers that we do not take this lightly.
Arguably, Malaysia is at its worst since the pandemic started at the beginning of 2020.
Dr Lim Teck Onn even goes on to say that the window of opportunity to implement a Zero Covid-19 strategy has long closed and mitigation is the only option left.
Nevertheless, here is what we have learnt in the course of the past few weeks (since December) and would like to share with you.
We need to be sensible and humane.
We must remember to be humane even as we work to stem the virus transmission among the people who work with us.
We want to talk about what happened in our business because we believe in being transparent and at the same time, treat cases with as much humanity as we can offer. Foreign workers or not, they are not just a number and they shouldn’t be shunned or labelled.
Given the large numbers of positive Covid cases each day in Malaysia, we believe that the virus is already out there in the community. We detected our own covid cases because we chose to conduct voluntary mass testing on all employees, regardless of whether they were foreign or local.
Having said that, detection of the virus is by no means an indicator of infectiousness.
The British Medical Journal which is one of the world’s top four most cited general medical journals has an article that states: “Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests can detect viral SARS-CoV-2 RNA in the upper respiratory tract for a mean of 17 days; however, detection of viral RNA does not necessarily equate to infectiousness, and viral culture from PCR positive upper respiratory tract samples has been rarely positive beyond nine days of illness.” See full article here.
We acted quickly and kept all lines of communication open.
When MOH told us that our foreign workers were discharged from the official quarantine centre in Balik Pulau, it was already 7pm. However, our team took ownership and did what they needed to do to fetch our foreign workers. Our HR team had to quickly mobilize a bus despite the lateness of the hour to pick them up but the first bus driver we contracted refused to do so. Thankfully we found another bus driver in time and we managed to ferry all the discharged workers back to their hostel in Sg Bakap by midnight. Our HR manager, Chris worked with our directors and even suited up in PPE to meet the workers and ensured they got onto the bus!
We took care of our people.
We took care of the workers that we quarantined. Besides quarantining them in their hostels with 24-hour monitoring, we also supplied them with vitamins C and D and zinc tablets. In the first few days, we had packed food delivered to them but later realized that it was better for them to have something to do while being quarantined. We had fresh produce such as vegetables, chicken and fish delivered to them so that they could cook on their own. This arrangement made them much happier too during the 14 days of isolation.
We want to support your safety and well-being.
The pandemic is far from over. As of 13 January (tomorrow), all of us in Penang will be undergoing a two-week lockdown. We want to protect you, our customer, even as we continue with our business. This is why we have made it compulsory for all front liners who are in contact with our customers to wear face masks, face shields and gloves at all times at customers’ premises. In some cases where some customers require stricter measures, our drivers also don PPE suits as PPE suits have been proven to lower the risk of transmission.
Some have remarked that this is unnecessary and may frighten others but we assure customers that we want to support their safety and well-being.
Besides, the PCR test takes time to culture and run; its results will only be known the next day. We cannot predict when a person is infected; it could be the moment right after PCR testing!
That said, we do want to assure you that we will be sending our front liners for PCR testing on a regular basis. We will be the first to alert you should any of our workers obtain a positive test result so that we can all work towards breaking the chain of transmission.
Ultimately, we hope to mitigate the risks of transmission by working together with you. If you still have concerns, do reach out to us (email@example.com).
Let us work together to help keep our community and employees safe during these uncertain times while ensuring business can be conducted as efficiently as possible.