Industries in Manesar asked to get 10% of workers tested in AugustUpdated: Aug 10, 2020 23:59 IST
The district administration has made it mandatory for all the industrial units in the district to get 10% of their employees tested in August, and thereafter 5% tested for every subsequent month. In a notification issued by the district administration on July 31, the cost of the Covid-19 test will be borne by the industrial units, most of which are located in Manesar. As per the notification, the first round of testing must start by August 15.
Industries will be free to choose between Reverse Transcription – Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test and the rapid antigen test. The antigen test, however, would be conducted by the health department for which different industrial units will have to procure the kits and hand them over to the health department’s Urban Primary Health Centre (UPHC) in Manesar. Currently, only health department can conduct antigen test.
Manmohan Gaind, general secretary, Manesar Industries Welfare Association, said, “Industries have been asked to place bulk orders of antigen kits with the health department. We have been asked to place an order of more than 1,000 kits for which we will be bearing the cost. As per the notification, the first round of 10% testing of the manpower has to be conducted by August 15.”
According to him, more than 650 industrial units under the association have so far given a lukewarm response to the testing of their workers as they are already struggling to run their units. They are in the favour of enforcing social distancing norms instead.
“Till now, 30 industries have collaborated to place the requisition for Covid-19 antigen detection kits. Each of them has placed an order for only 15 to 20 kits for the first round of testing,” said Gaind, adding that industries can also opt for RT-PCR and get it done via private labs. The RT-PCR which is the gold standard of frontline testing is much more expensive than antigen test. The state government has fixed the charges for RT-PCR at ₹2,400, while an antigen detection kit can cost nearly ₹540.
As per the notification, industrial units cannot deduct wages or remove an employee for testing positive. Positive cases will have to be shifted to isolation facilities. Dr Virender Yadav, chief medical officer (CMO), Gurugram, said, “The expenses for the test have to be borne by the respective industries to avoid undue financial pressure on the workers. The plan is to test a minimum of 500 people and a maximum of 1,000 people by organising camps. The department will deploy sufficient number of teams for conducting screening of workers in the industrial areas. The process will start once we receive the kits.”
Under Manesar, there are three UPHCs, namely Bhangrola, Kasan and Aliyar. Health officials said that testing camps have been organised in the past, which have helped in bringing down the positivity rate to less than 2% in the area.