Covid-19: Cleaning staff at hospital refuse to enter ward over PPE shortage

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Sydney - They were reportedly also not allowed to wash off using the centre's shower before going home.


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Published: Sat 17 Jul 2021, 12:54 PM

Alleging the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE), a group of 200 cleaning staff at a hospital in Sydney are refusing to enter the Covid-19 ward of the hospital.

The state health minister has dubbed the matter as "some difference of opinion" between the hospital and the union on the matter, SBS News reported.

"But I've indicated to the team last night that I'd like us to be as generous as reasonable and understanding of our health workers and are on the side of being supportive," said New South Wales (NSW) Brad Hazzard.

This comes as Sydney on Saturday ordered a shutdown of banned non-essential retail and warned fines for employers who make employees come into the office as new infection cases in the city kept rising.

The state health services union said the NSW Health department told the workers they would not be given appropriate protective equipment kits. Aside from the shortage of booties and hairnets, the union said there were delays getting properly fitted masks.

The cleaners were also told they couldn't clean up at the hospital shower before going home, heightening their risk of contracting the virus and infecting their kin.

"Our members are asking for basic health and safety provisions. The fact their requests have been denied is incomprehensible," said Health Services Union NSW Secretary Gerard Hayes.

Hayes further said that three paramedics in southwest Sydney have now also tested positive for the virus, forcing around 70 paramedics into isolation.

This comes as New South Wales has recorded 111 new local Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours. The surge has prompted the state authorities to announce tougher restrictions several pare of the state.

"NSW recorded 111 new locally acquired cases of Covid-19 in the 24 hours to 8 pm last night," NSW Health tweeted on Friday.

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