MTN allays fears of COVID-19 at Menlyn store

Samuel Mungadze
By Samuel Mungadze, Africa editor
Johannesburg, 19 Mar 2020

MTN has moved to allay fears that one of its employees working at its Menlyn Shopping Centre store has tested positive for the coronavirus (COVID-19).

On Wednesday, Menlyn Shopping Centre management erroneously circulated a memo to other mall tenants alleging the MTN store had been closed for sanitising after an MTN employee tested positive for COVID-19.

“It is not correct that a case of COVID-19 has been confirmed at the Menlyn store,” says Jacqui O'Sullivan, executive of corporate affairs at MTN SA.

She tells ITWeb the concern came about in the following manner: “A store employee’s daughter spent the weekend with her father. The father’s partner was in contact with someone who subsequently showed symptoms of COVID-19. The daughter had been in the store that weekend so, out of an abundance of caution, the store was closed.

“We have not yet had confirmation that the original person was actually positive with the virus but we believe it is in the best interest of our employees, our customers and all South Africans that we act in a responsible and consistent manner.

“Our Menlyn employees are all currently in self-quarantine. The store will be fully sanitised today and we will reopen as soon as possible.”

Over and above these measures, O’Sullivan says: “We are currently standardising the MTN store response plan for potential exposure, in line with the Centre for Disease Control and the World Health Organisation’s recommendations, to ensure uniform actions are taken as advised by those international bodies.”

Menlyn Shopping Centre management later retracted its earlier memo.

“Earlier today, the management of Menlyn Shopping Centre issued an internal communication to the mall tenants that incorrectly claimed an MTN employee at Menlyn Mall had tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.

“Regrettably, this has turned out to be incorrectly reported. We unreservedly retract the statement and apologise to out tenant MTN,” reads the statement from Menlyn Shopping Centre management.

According to the Department of Health, there are now 116 cases of the coronavirus, which has been declared a national disaster by president Cyril Ramaphosa.

Globally, at time of publishing, there were 220 346 confirmed cases of coronavirus, 8 987 deaths and 85 778 recoveries. The virus has spread to 159 countries/territories.