JUST IN: Nedbank employee tests positive to coronavirus, Durban city now in trouble

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Durban – The city is on high alert after a Nedbank staff member, believed to be a resident at the Mount Edgecombe Country Estate, tested positive for Covid-19 on Monday.

The man was part of the group of nine people who arrived back from Italy on March 1.

It is believed he will be kept in quarantine at Durban’s Addington Hospital. His wife tested negative.

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Both Nedbank and the estate issued statements to The Mercury last night, confirming that a man had tested positive for the virus.

Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize said seven people had tested positive to date in KwaZulu-Natal. However, the department could not confirm the Durban case.

Department of Health acting director-general Anban Pillay said the department had traced 128 people who had had contact with the group of travellers, but this figure could grow as people recalled additional people they may have seen since returning home.

Nedbank chief risk officer Trevor Adams said the Department of Health had confirmed that a Durban staff member had tested positive for the coronavirus (Covid-19).

“The staff member will receive treatment and remain in quarantine until fully recovered and given a clean bill of health.

“Other staff members who came into contact with the affected staff member at the two meetings he attended, at the Pine Walk branch and Nedbank’s Durban Kingsmead Campus conference centre, have already been self-quarantined,” said Adams.

He added that the infected staff member had not come into contact with any clients or third parties.

“The physical areas the staff member came into contact with were isolated and deep cleaned as a precautionary measure,” he said.

Adams said Nedbank had postponed a recognition function that was meant to be held in Durban at the weekend, as a precautionary measure.

Mount Edgecombe Country Estate residents said that the estate’s chief executive, Desiree Stone, had emailed a notification at 3pm on Monday in which she advised that a resident had tested positive.

“Unfortunately we have just been informed that our resident who has been self isolating himself since last week, has tested positive for the Corona virus (sic). His wife’s results have come back negative,” the notice read.

According to the notice, the resident was not showing any symptoms.

“However, the authorities have advised that he will be taken to a hospital and be placed in quarantine until his tests show that he is no longer infected,” the notice read.

Stone told The Mercury last night that the infected patient had been part of the group that had travelled to Italy.

When asked about the measures the estate had taken to contain the spread of the virus, Stone said: “We have temporarily disabled biometric access. Pre-authorised access cards are to be used, sanitisers have just been installed at all gates and biometric access will be opened again shortly. We are doing everything we can, but it’s up to each person to ensure they take care of themselves.”

Mr Price Group’s (MRPG) head office in Durban was also closed yesterday amid fears that several of the group’s employees had travelled abroad and could have been infected.

When The Mercury visited the site, security personnel prevented visitors from entering the premises and produced a letter entitled “Coronavirus Precautionary Measures” conveying the firm’s concerns about the virus.

The letter stated that the office was undergoing sanitisation after staff had travelled and presented with “flu-like symptoms”.

The letter, from chief executive Mark Blair, said “the group has no evidence that any of its associates are infected” but that “over the last 14 days several of the group’s associates have travelled abroad and therefore a possibility exists that they have been infected”.

“The group has asked these associates to remain at home a handful of individuals have shown flu-like symptoms and have been sent for tests. The results are pending,” the letter read.

“No staff are to enter the building as a deep clean of the premises takes place to ensure it is thoroughly sanitisedplease can people remain calm and ensure they do not share false information.

“Everything is being done to ensure the maximum safety of our associates and their family members.”

MRPG spokesperson Matthew Warriner said the firm had closed its head office on Monday as a “precautionary measure only”.

The office will remain closed on Tuesday.

“No one at our company has tested positive for coronavirus. To be safe, a handful of people who travelled abroad to the UK two weeks ago have been tested and we are awaiting their results. We took this decision purely as a precaution, and have taken the opportunity to institute a professional deep clean of our building over the next two days,” Warriner said.

“Our Head Office staff will be working remotely over these two days and all our stores and operations are continuing as usual,” he said.

Warriner said the firm had instructed staff not to travel internationally and to keep domestic travel to a minimum.

Meanwhile, Chelsea Preparatory School sent letters to parents advising that two children whose parents had been among the travel group to Italy had tested negative for Covid-19.

“Both children will remain in self-quarantine for a further two weeks despite testing negative. On receiving a clearance certificate, issued by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, they will return to school,” the letter read.

The school said it would be taking “extra sanitisation measures and a deep clean of the school”.

Source: The Mercury


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