The manufacturing plant of Oppo in Greater Noida was sealed Monday, only a few days after it resumed operations, when at least nine employees tested positive for Covid-19. All the employees in the plant are being tested now, and depending on how many test positive, the district authorities could initiate penal action against the smartphone maker.
Oppo had reopened its factory on May 8 after being shut for more than a month owing to the nationwide lockdown. It is learnt that once these nine employees began to show Covid-like symptoms, the standard operating procedure was followed and they were isolated. "When these workers showed symptoms of coronavirus infection during the routine health check-up before they entered the factory, they were isolated and the authorities were informed," a source said.
Confirming the development, Oppo Mobile India said in a statement that it "had obtained permission from the state authorities to resume production, following the ministry of home affairs directive." It went on to state, "As an organisation that places the safety of all our employees and citizens at the forefront, we have not only undertaken Covid-19 tests for all employees at the manufacturing facility in Greater Noida, but also suspended all operations at the plant. We are undertaking stringent measures to keep the employees safe."
A senior official of the Gautam Buddh Nagar district administration said, "We are in full control of the situation. We have sealed the premises and are following all set procedures. The premises will be fully sanitised."
The district administration is now busy arranging for kits to test all 3000 employees (barring the nine who have already tested positive) who were working at the Oppo factory. Of the nine, eight workers are from Noida and one from Ghaziabad. All of them have been moved to a private quarantine centre.
A company official said that ever since the factory reopened, its HR staff and trainers had been holding video conference sessions with factory managers to underline the importance of maintaining social distancing to minimise the risk of contamination.
Oppo, which, along with its global offshoot, Realme, holds over 26 per cent of India's smartphone market, manufacturers nearly 50 million handsets at its Greater Noida plant and employs close to 10,000 people.
Sources said that the authorities are considering penal action against the company if many workers test positive. "A first information report (FIR) could be lodged against Oppo for its failure to provide a safe environment and contain the spread of the virus. This was discussed with manufacturers during preparatory meetings before permission was granted for opening factories," a senior bureaucrat said.
However, Rakesh Chauhan, district information officer, Gautam Buddha Nagar, said that no such action had been planned as yet. "First, let us get all the reports (test results and a probe into the matter)," he said.