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COVID-19 WATCH

DILG: COVID-testing for workers not mandatory

Elmer N. Manuel @tribunephl_lmer

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The Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) on Friday reiterated that it is not the requirement of the national government to test employees and workers for coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) before they go back to their respective jobs.

In a radio interview, DILG Secretary Eduardo Año stressed that it is not mandatory for workers to be tested for COVID-19 before they are allowed to work, contrary to reports that some local government units (LGU) are supposedly issuing orders, requiring companies to have their employees tested for the disease.

He also stressed that there is no official directive regarding the matter.

“What we want to clarify to the public and the LGU is that we have not issued any orders that companies are required to have their workers undergo COVID testing,” said Año.

“It was also clarified by the Labor department and the Department of Trade and Industry,” he added.

He also called on the LGU to refrain from issuing orders that require companies and offices to test their employees.

Año explained that what firms could do is to subject employees to screening if they manifest symptoms of COVID-19 and noted that if the employees and workers have flu-like symptoms, they should not report to work.

“There can be screening or diagnostics if there are any symptoms and if there is one, then the worker should not be allowed to go back to work,” said Año.

However, the DILG chief said returning employees must fill-up a disclosure form which will detail their activities for the last 14 days or if they have contact with COVID-19 patients.

Earlier, Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said only those showing symptoms of COVID-19 should be required to undergo the test.

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