Adcock Ingram Critical Care has confirmed that an employee at its Aeroton manufacturing facility in Johannesburg has tested positive for COVID-19 and that the entire plant was shut down temporarily last night to allow for deep cleaning. Fifty other employees underwent testing yesterday and have self-quarantined based on the primary contact trace.

Adcock Ingram is the second pharmaceutical company to halt operations in the past week due to COVID-19 infections. Earlier this week GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) closed its manufacturing plant in Epping in Cape Town after 73 workers tested positive for Covid-19.

Adcock Ingram says the infected employee displayed minor symptoms of the virus on Tuesday and reported to the on-site clinic. In accordance with protocol, the employee was referred to a private pathology laboratory for testing and was self-quarantined at home. The test came back positive yesterday. The employee remains in self-quarantine and will only return to work once cleared by a healthcare professional.

 The Critical Care facility’s immediate response has been as follows:

  • The section of the factory in which the employee worked has been shut down;
  • A track and trace in accordance with the company’s protocols is well underway;
  • All primary contacts in the work environment have been tested in accordance with the protocols;
  • All employees in the section of the factory in which the employee worked, and other contacts, if any, have been or will be self-quarantined;
  • Deliveries from Critical Care have been suspended, and only emergency deliveries are taking place.  All appropriate hygiene and disinfecting procedures are in place, will continue and have been escalated;
  • A deep-clean of the plant, conducted by a third-party specialist, commenced on Wednesday and the plant will be closed for the entire long weekend to ensure the deep-clean is conducted properly;
  • Employees who are able to do so will return to the site on 28 April 2020 if the results of the deep clean are satisfactory

Adcock Ingram has invited the Department of Labour and other regulatory bodies to inspect the facility and says it will provide its full cooperation.

“We are confident that our COVID-19 protocols are sufficient and based on best practices,” Adcock Ingram says in a statement.

“As a pharmaceutical company, we are part of an integral healthcare system and the medicine supply chain in South Africa, our priority is the health and safety of our employees, customers and the citizens of the country, and it is therefore our responsibility to contain the spread of any additional infections within the organisation.  We remain committed to comply with the regulations and procedures as outlined by, inter alia, the Departments of Health and Labour,” the company concluded.