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Institute of Marine Affairs deputy director Dr Rahanna Juman

An employee at the Institute of Marine Affairs has tested positive for COVID-19, raising concerns among staff members about the possible spread of infection to others at the office.

Speaking to Guardian Media yesterday, IMA acting director Dr Rahanna Juman confirmed that a member of the support staff had tested positive for the disease and that the institute was informed of the result yesterday.

However, she noted that the person only began displaying symptoms last Friday and his last working day at the office was last Tuesday.

Several staff members contacted Guardian Media complaining that the IMA refused to close the institute to engage in proper sanitisation.

They also noted that with rising COVID-19 cases and the Delta variant now rooted within communities, they were concerned that the institute was not allowing a rotation of staff to limit exposure.

However, Dr Juman assured that the building was thoroughly sanitised and that contact tracing was continuing. Guardian Media understands that the infected worker was only in contact with one other employee and the interaction was outside of work.

Dr Juman said the institute continues to be guided by its Health and Safety Executive (HSE), as it has been doing since the start of the pandemic.

She noted that a meeting was held with staff on Monday and reminders are given frequently to them to ensure they too do their part to ensure safety.

The acting director also explained that the IMA is guided by the Government’s directives on a work-from-home rotation, noting too that a telecommuting policy is being rolled out. Dr Juman said she understands the workers’ anxiety and asked that they relay their concerns to the management.