SMIC backs massive testing drive, starts with employees

SM Investments Corp. (SMIC), the country’s largest conglomerate, has conducted multiple testing for the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) covering 140,000 employees and agency workers across its supermarkets, retail stores, malls, residential and property companies nationwide.

This is in support of the government’s drive to broaden tes­ting for COVID-19, SMIC said in a recent press statement.

To screen its own workforce and protect customers, SMIC has done “repeated” rounds of testing using rapid and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test kits.

“The group tests against COVID-19 regularly to assure the continuous delivery of its services to customers and to protect its workforce,” SMIC said.

Even prior to easing of the enhanced community quarantine in May, SMIC said it had initiated COVID-19 antibody rapid testing for its employees and agency front-liners, including janitors and security guards.

Beyond testing, SMIC said it had undertaken additional measures to protect the safety of its workforce. Employees are provided with face masks and face shields for added protection. Front-line employees are also properly geared and provided with alcohol in spray bottles. Commercial and office spaces are regularly and thoroughly disinfected, especially the cash counters and bathrooms.

SMIC also undertakes an information campaign on safety and social distancing nationwide through posters, videos and digital channels.

Temperature checks through infrared thermometers and thermal cameras are conducted in all points of entrance and exit. Employees are required to fill up health check forms daily.

Safe distancing is observed in office areas, complemented by layout changes and screen dividers. Safe distancing markers have also been placed in all elevators.

To support a more widely accessible PCR testing in the country, SM donated over P30 million worth of RT-PCR test kits, equivalent to over 20,000 tests, to major testing centers like the UP-National Institutes of Health laboratory and directly to local government units of cities around Metro Manila, as well as in Baguio.

In addition to RT-PCR test kits, SM Foundation has donated over P300 million worth of personal protective equipment, medical equipment and facilities to 150 hospitals and health-care facilities nationwide.