Colombo, 25th May 2021: It has come to our attention today that a video circulating on social media raises certain concerns regarding our Brandix facility in Batticaloa. We would like to make the following clarifications.
The Brandix manufacturing facility in Batticaloa at full capacity operates with 5,012 direct employees. However, in keeping with the Health & Safety protocols advised by Health authorities, it was reduced to 4,050 by the Sinhala - Tamil New Year. Of this, the company can confirm that a total of 34 employees have tested positive for COVID-19 to date (25th May 2021) since their return to work from the Sinhala - Tamil New Year holidays.
Upon detection, in line with our Health & Safety protocols, the area PHI and MOH officials have been informed accordingly and recommended actions have been duly followed. We have additionally taken all the required measures to ensure the affected employees receive the necessary care, while remaining in constant contact with them to better understand their needs. We also continue to extend the necessary support to their families.
We have identified first contacts and those identified were immediately sent home for self-quarantine according to protocol. All requested details of close contacts were shared with the PHI and MOH, and PCR tests organised for all close contacts as per the directive of Government Health authorities. All those in quarantine continue to be monitored closely and a PCR is carried out and the employees are cleared prior to their return to work following the completion of the mandatory 14-day self-quarantine period.
The company follows this strict proactive protocol to ensure that any person identified with COVID-19 does not transmit the disease within their communities. In addition to this, since last year, we ensure that pregnant employees, employees with pre-existing chronic conditions, and other identified categories remain at home, with full salaries and allowances paid for the duration of their home stay.
A delegation consisting of the Regional Director Health Services – Batticaloa, Regional Epidemiologist, Medical Officer - Environment and Occupational Health, and Regional Malaria Officer of the Batticaloa Regional Director of Health Services (RDHS) visited the Brandix Batticaloa facility on 25th May 2021. Upon assessment, the officials confirmed that the facility was fully compliant with the Health & Safety protocols in place, reaffirming our compliance towards ensuring the health and well-being of our employees. As an extended preventive measure, we have temporarily halted operations at the Batticaloa facility until 30th May 2021 and will continue to work in adherence to the directives of the Health authorities to safeguard our employees.
Our facility in Batticaloa provides direct employment to over 5,000 members of the community from across the Batticaloa district and beyond, and ensuring their health and well-being is a top priority for our organisation. As the first apparel manufacturer to establish operations in the district, we have continued our efforts to make a positive impact by providing livelihoods to those who are both directly and indirectly employed, as well as by addressing the needs of the communities through our CSR initiatives. We continue to uphold our commitment as a safe and responsible employer and member of the community in Batticaloa.