ILO's Better Factories Cambodia launches "COVID-19: Worker Safety" hotline

Cambodian workers exit their factory as they take a lunch break in Phnom Penh on March 2, 2020. (Photo: AFP)

PHNOM PENH-- The International Labor Organization (ILO)'s Better Factories Cambodia has launched a mobile phone hotline to provide information to workers in the garment and footwear, travel goods and bag sectors about preventing the spread of COVID-19, its press statement said on Saturday.



The hotline, part of the "COVID-19: Worker Safety" program, uses Interactive Voice Response (IVR) technology -- an automated system -- workers can call to learn about COVID-19 preventive measures in their daily work, the statement said.



It added that examples of the kinds of information provided include how workers can protect themselves while travelling to work, and what they should do if they suspect having COVID-19.



The hotline number is 093 644 644 and the service is available all hours, the statement said.



The contents of the service are derived from guidelines and recommendations from the World Health Organization and the Ministry of Health and will be regularly updated in line with the latest official advice, it said.



"Ensuring safety and health for workers at the workplace has always been one of ILO's main priorities, especially during this difficult period," said Sara Park, program manager of Better Factories Cambodia.



"It is essential for all of us, including workers, to understand how to protect ourselves from it. Through this hotline, workers can get information promptly and it will be particularly useful for workers with limited literacy skills," she added.



The garment, footwear and travel goods industry is Cambodia's biggest export sector, employing about 750,000 people in approximately 1,100 factories and branches, according the Labor Ministry.



Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some 250 garment, footwear and travel goods factories in the Southeast Asian nation had suspended their operations, affecting more than 130,000 workers, the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC) said earlier this week.



Cambodia has reported a total of 125 confirmed COVID-19 cases to date, mostly imported, and no death has been recorded, the Ministry of Health said.



Currently, only two out of the patients in the kingdom remain hospitalized. 


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