Teluk Intan Hospital cleaners ‘blocked’ from Covid-19 screening by employer, union alleges

Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan alleged that the health of hospital cleaners was not being prioritised. — Bernama pic
Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan alleged that the health of hospital cleaners was not being prioritised. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 — Cleaners working at Hospital Teluk Intan — where more than 30 medical personnel had tested positive for Covid-19 — were allegedly not allowed to be tested by their company, a union representing them has claimed today.

Kesatuan Pekerja Swasta Hospital Kerajaan today took to Twitter to highlight the allegations that the health of hospital cleaners were not being taken care of, despite cleaners also being “frontliners” in the fight against Covid-19.

Highlighting a news report of 37 healthcare personnel at Hospital Teluk Intan having tested positive for Covid-19, the union claimed that they were working at the hospital’s emergency department.

The union claimed, however, that seven of the cleaners at this department were allegedly not allowed by their company to go for Covid-19 screening.

The union claimed that the reason given by the company was that there would be no replacements to carry out the work of the cleaners if they were asked to go on leave following the screening.

In the same Twitter thread, the union claimed that healthcare personnel at Hospital Teluk Intan’s X-Ray Department were also ordered to go for Covid-19 screenings.

“But one cleaner at the X-Ray Department was also barred from undergoing screening,” the union claimed, before highlighting the alleged unequal treatment of hospital cleaners despite being Covid-19 frontliners.

“Cleaners are also one of the #Frontliners that are working hard to fight Covid-19. But this group was abandoned and not given the same facility as other frontliners,” the union claimed.

The union urged the Health Ministry to act immediately on the alleged negligence, also stressing that cleaners are humans and have been working hard for the nation.

The union named the company, and Malay Mail has contacted the company to seek a response.

The company Edgenta UEMS Sdn Bhd via its parent company UEM Edgenta Berhad later responded the same day to Malay Mail’s query, where it said that its seven hospital support services employees stationed at the Teluk Intan Hospital had either completed or were awaiting to undergo Covid-19 testing after having come into close contact with hospital staff who are confirmed Covid-19 cases, adding that these cleaners’ test results were pending.

This evening, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah said that the Health Ministry noted that 39 healthcare personnel at Teluk Intan Hospital in Perak had tested positive for Covid-19, and has decided that all healthcare personnel and support personnel at this hospital will be undergoing tests to detect Covid-19.

Latest figures

Separately, Health Director-General Datuk Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah in a Facebook post said that a total of 80 healthcare personnel under the Health Ministry had, as of this morning, tested positive for Covid-19.

In a chart attached together with his announcement, most of the 30 Health Ministry facilities including clinics and hospitals only recorded one positive case of Covid-19 among their healthcare personnel, while Hospital Teluk Intan was the highest with 39 Covid-19 positive cases recorded.

Dr Noor Hisham said that the Health Ministry had found that the source of Covid-19 infection for all 80 of these healthcare personnel was not from the handling of Covid-19 patients at the ministry’s facilities.

“However, all healthcare personnel and frontliners are advised to practise precautionary measures as have been recommended, including in ensuring their hands are always clean, practising social distancing and wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) according to requirements,” he said.

Yesterday, Dr Noor Hisham said most of the healthcare personnel contracted Covid-19 from attending wedding events that were attended by those who went for a mass tabligh gathering at a Kuala Lumpur mosque, while other sources include overseas travel or coming into contact with family members of Covid-19 cases.

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