A Rio Tinto worker has tested positive to COVID-19 after spending time at the company’s Weipa operation.
The employee is a Brisbane based staff member and is not a FIFO worker but became unwell five days after returning to Brisbane. It is believed that he was not infectious while he was on site.
Today Queensland Health officials confirmed that they have undertaken contact tracing and have briefed site staff of the potential symptoms in readiness for an outbreak
Rio Tinto Weipa General Manager Brad Welsh said, in a public letter that a number of FIFO contractors have been relocated to Weipa for at least 6 months to reduce the risk of transmission and to support mining operations.
“It is absolutely critical that we do everything we can to keep COVID-19 out of our local communities,” Mr Welsh said.
“This includes Weipa, Napranum, Mapoon, and more broadly all remote communities across the Cape.’’
Rio Tinto said in a statement that our focus is on the health and safety of our employees and the communities where we operate and on keeping our operations running safely, so we can continue to contribute to local and national economies and serve our customers.
“We have taken extensive measures across the business to help protect our people and communities, and have increased these as the pandemic spreads, in line with guidance or directives from governments and advice from international health organisations on best practice. “
“We have also pledged $25 million to support global grassroots, community COVID-19 preparedness and recovery. This takes our total estimated voluntary global community contributions to around $60 million for 2020.” a company spokesperson said.
There are 29 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the Cairns region according to Queensland Health.
The Health Regulator is also looking to contact people on QF922 Sydney to Cairns on the 22/3/202 and QF701 Melbourne to Cairns for the 22/3/2020.
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