On 31 December 2019, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan City, China. ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2’ (SARS-CoV-2) was confirmed as the causative agent of what we now know as ‘Coronavirus Disease 2019’ (COVID-19). Since then, the virus has spread worldwide, including in South Africa, and we now have several coronavirus variants that are different from the version first detected in China.
While it's natural for viruses to change and evolve gradually, this doesn't mean that new variants of the COVID-19 virus m5ake the current vaccines ineffective. The COVID-19 vaccines that have been approved or are currently in development are expected to still provide some protection against new virus variants. As we learn more about these variants, we need to do everything possible to stop the spread of the virus to prevent future mutations that may reduce the efficacy of existing vaccines. This means getting vaccinated sooner rather than later, frequent hand washing, wearing a mask, social distancing, and avoiding crowded places. We need to use the tools we have, including the vaccines, to fight against COVID-19.
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Exxaro has been closely monitoring all updates and advice from the relevant organisations, including the National Department of Health, the Department of Minerals Resources and Energy, and the Minerals Council South Africa. As a result, we are taking several precautionary measures to ensure the health and safety of our employees, customers, clients, service providers, and other stakeholders.
That’s why, to create a safer and healthier work environment, we partnered with the Provincial Departments of Health in Limpopo and Mpumalanga in July 2021 to launch a COVID-19 vaccination rollout programme for our employees. This forms part of our occupational health and wellness strategy to combat the pandemic.
Led by the Department of Health and supported by Exxaro, this outreach programme has been extended to various activations in communities and malls through peer educators and home-based caregivers. The Department of Health has committed to assist Exxaro with speedily vaccinating their employees and family members.
Exxaro has a common goal with the National Department of Health’s vaccine rollout mandate: to ensure that we reach immunity and save as many lives as we can.
The total number of Exxaro employees vaccinated is 88.32% as at 20 May 2022.
For more information and verified updates on the virus, visit:
We have taken extreme measures to protect our staff at all our Business Units from infection. With constant screenings from the entry points to frequent sanitising of all surfaces in communal spaces throughout the facilities. These preventative steps were taken in line with the Level 5 restrictions as some of our employees were considered essential staff during the national lockdown. Furthermore, we joined forces with the local department to conduct screenings on motorists who were travelling in and out of the province in our operational community of Lephalale, Grootegeluk as the country geared up for the reopening of the economy and the move to level 4 national lockdown restrictions.
The national lockdown placed many families who survive from hand to mouth such as street vendors, handymen and craftsmen under immense financial strain as they were unable to make an income, leaving them stranded an destitute. But families in our operational communities received some much-needed assistance in the form of food parcels to alleviate the financial burdens they may face during this time.
Many health care facilities faced strain with the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the communities we operate on. To help, we provided thousands worth of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to help staff at the centres better assist patients while protecting themselves from contracting the virus.
An informed community is an educated community and that's why we worked tirelessly to inform the community on the Virus, better equipping them to fight the disease and have compassion towards those who have been infected by debunking myths and misinformation on the virus.
As schools geared up for the phased approach for the new academic term, many needed additional care and equipment to make their facilities COVID-19 compliant. With the help of our BU's and HQ employees, we were able to donate masks and other protective equipment to schools in our operation communities.