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Mine workers must declare overseas travel to stop coronavirus says metal producer

Fortescue Metals Group iron ore
Fortescue Metals Group workers

An iron ore company wants employees to state if they plan to travel abroad and stay away from the work site if they visited countries suffering from a deadly Asian virus epidemic.

Fortescue Metals Group has urged its mine workers to declare their overseas travel plans to management and remain in quarantine, if they visited any country affected by the Chinese coronavirus (covid-19) outbreak.

14-day lockout

“We have asked team members to advise of any other overseas travel prior to returning to site,” the company said in a public statement. “Team members who have travelled to Iran, Mainland China, Italy and South Korea have been asked not to return to site or the Fortescue centre for at least 14 days after they have travelled.”

The remarks came after a Christmas Creek Iron Ore Mine worker complained about suffering from symptoms that were similar to those of covid-19 not long after returning from abroad.

Health professionals carried out medical testing and found the employee did not appear to have contracted covid-19.

“This is welcome news and ensuring our workforce is healthy, safe and informed remains our number one priority,” Fortescue said.

Hygiene is a must

The proponent said it had actively contacted its teams, suppliers and contractors across the business to emphasise the importance of maintaining high health and hygiene standards and transparency about where staff have travelled.

Anyone found to be experiencing covid-19 symptoms must complete a health assessment checklist according to advice from the World Health Organisation.

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The company has since postponed non-essential travel to Fortescue sites and restricted visiting a number of international destinations under the Federal Government’s direction.

“At this stage we do not anticipate any impact to production schedules, and flights and rosters in and out of our sites are operating as usual,” Fortescue said. “Our office based teams are working as normal, with some teams in Shanghai and Singapore working from home.”

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