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Sans enough PPE kits, frontline workers at risk

As personnel protection equipment (PPE) is insufficient for field-level officials and workers in the city, the Greater Chennai Corporation has directed zonal officials to maintain registry on the daily distribution of PPE kits.

Sans enough PPE kits, frontline workers at risk


A Chennai Corporation sanitary inspector said that the instruction was given on Monday. As per the instruction, sanitary inspectors of every ward should receive signatures of the workers while distributing PPE as an acknowledgement. “As PPE are disposable, we have to collect them from headquarters every day. They do not send the required number of PPE in advance,” the sanitary inspector said.

Sanitary inspectors, disinfectant workers, workers taking part in the door-to-door survey are given masks, gloves and sanitisers while personnel collecting samples are given full body protection gears.

Currently, around 14,000 workers have been appointed on a temporary basis to conduct a door-to-door survey. Apart from this, a total of around 6,000 employees have been deployed for prevention measures. “However, we could not get PPE for all the workers. In some divisions, even sanitary inspectors are using handkerchiefs as masks on duty,” he pointed out.

The workers are irked as the civic body has failed to provide personnel protection equipment to workers indulging in the burial of bodies of persons died due to the disease. “There is a higher chance of workers contracting the virus from the bodies. They should be provided protection equipment,” another health department official said.

In addition to the lack of personnel protection equipment, temporary workers allege that they are not getting promised daily wage from the civic body. On Sunday, several workers attached to Tiruvottiyur zone staged a protest demanding promised wages.

Despite the Chennai Corporation Commissioner G Prakash promising testing of frontline workers, the chances are bleak as the civic body could only receive only 6,000 rapid test kits as against 20,000 thousand frontline workers. Apart from the 20,000 workers, more than 17,000 conservancy workers are cleaning the streets. However, Chennai Corporation senior officials maintained that they have adequate PPE for frontline workers.

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