Chevron denies reports workforce is stricken by coronavirus

By Nathan Nwakama

Chevron Nigeria Limited said on Thursday that its workforce, both expatriate and indigenous is free of the coronavirus.

Mr Esimaje Brikinn, the company’s General Manager, Policy, Government and Public Affairs, added that it had also received no report of the virus in its operations.

The oil firm denied reports that it was running a COVID-19 quarantine centre to isolate staff of the company suspected to be infected by the virus.

It acknowledged that it had put in place several precautionary safeguards to prevent the spread of the virus to its sphere of operations.

According to the company, part of the precautionary safeguards is the introduction of a compulsory two-week supervised quarantine for all personnel returning to work at its Escravos Operations amid the pandemic.

Chevron stated that the precautionary safeguard had enabled CNL to provide a controlled environment for very close monitoring of personnel during the period of the supervised quarantine.

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It added that to make the measures effective, all personnel would first be required to provide a comprehensive travel history before “they are placed in the supervised quarantine”.

Brikinn’s statement followed reports that the oil firm had quarantined hundreds of its staff suspected to be infected with the coronavirus at a hotel in Warri.

Brikinn said that none of CNL’s employees had contracted the virus.

He added that based on the directive issued by the Federal Government regarding the need for sustained operations in the oil and gas industry even in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, CNL agreed with some hotels and other facilities to accommodate staff.

“The hotels in Lagos and Warri will house staff on rotational duties and their health statuses monitored to ensure that they do not have the COVID-19 before returning to work at its Escravos Operations,” he said.

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According to him, the first group of personnel scheduled for quarantine were moved to the designated facilities on April 10, while other groups will follow based on the crew change schedule.

“The personnel will be required to strictly maintain social distancing protocols, personal hygiene, and use of appropriate personal protective equipment during the supervised quarantine period.

“We are also working with the hotels and other facilities where the personnel will be placed, to ensure that the hotels and facilities maintain high levels of sanitation and follow strict adherence to all COVID 19 protocols,” he stated.

Brikinn explained that at the end of the two-week period, only those who are certified free of the virus would be moved to Escravos facility.

He said that anyone with suspected symptoms during the period would be subjected to further testing and subsequently transferred to government designated hospitals for further handling in line with government approved protocols.

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“Chevron continues to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak around the world and has been utilising the guidance of local and international health authorities.

“We are regularly updating our workforce and will continue to adjust plans as appropriate as we receive more information.

“Our top priority is to ensure the wellbeing and safety of our workforce and their family members, and we are taking precautionary measures to reduce the risk of exposure,” Brikinn added.