Strictly following health guidelines key to reopening factories without risking lives of workers

As the Union Government has granted permission since 12 October to reopen the factories which meet mandatory health guidelines after inspections for complying with health guidelines, thousands of workers are set to return to work.
Meanwhile, workers are worried that reopening the factories at the height of a pandemic will lead to chaos and catastrophic consequences.
Concern is warranted. But, vigilance is required to fighting against the pandemic.
For the long-term interests, employers and employees need to cooperate in following the COVID-19 safety guidelines which would be enforced by the Ministry of Health and Sports through its surprise inspections.
The regional health and administrative authorities will conduct surprise inspections at factories, which have reopened after receiving permission from the government, to reduce the risk from the spread of COVID-19.
Understanding that Social security benefits are the key to making workers’ finances resilient to COVID-19, the Ministry of Labor, Immigration and Population has provided 40 percent of workers’ salaries where factories have been closed since April 20 for COVID-19 inspections.
The ministry sets aside over K60 billion to provide social security benefits to 863,900 workers at factories in Yangon Region, and so far, 155,822 have been provided with the benefits. Plans are underway to provide the same benefits to those who are eligible to enjoy the benefits in other regions and states.
If factory workers contributed social security fees to the Social Security Department for June, 2020, and if the factories are running until 23 September, 2020, then they will be eligible to enjoy 40 per cent of their salaries as social security benefits.
While balancing public health considerations amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the economy of the country and livelihoods of the workers, the authorities made the decision to grant reopening to factories which meet A-Grade health guidelines.
In fact, the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in our country is rising, having reached over 1000 and over 30 deaths daily. The vast majority of cases are in the Yangon Region.
It underscores the fact that we are not out of the woods yet, and people should not be negligent in protecting themselves from contracting the infection.
People, employers and employees are urged to strictly follow all health guidelines.

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