Equatorial Guinea has forbidden unvaccinated people from working on- or offshore in the oil and gas sector.
Minister of Mines and Hydrocarbons Gabriel Mbaga Obiang Lima issued the order in a virtual meeting, the Africa Energy Chamber reported.
“It is forbidden for unvaccinated individuals to work on onshore or offshore facilities. They are public servants and must be protected,” he said. This applies to both domestic and expatriate employees.
The statement from the chamber said the move would drive Equatorial Guinea’s vaccination rollout programme intended to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic. This order intends to maintain operations while keeping workers safe.
Equatorial Guinea received a 500,000 shipment of Sinopharm doses at the end of June. According to Our World in Data, authorities have given full vaccinations to 9.7% of the country’s population.
“Equatorial Guinea has taken the right steps in driving oil and gas productivity by ensuring that the oil and gas sector is both a safe and productive working environment for all oil and gas employees,” the minister said.
“Africa’s oil and gas sector can lead the way in the continent’s vaccination rollout and we are thankful to the government’s COVID committee and other ministries within Equatorial Guinea.”
Obiang Lima went on to call for an increase in flights to Equatorial Guinea.
The issue of mandatory vaccinations is becoming increasingly important. A number of US companies have asked staff to have vaccines – and the law appears to endorse this position.
In the UK, it does not seem possible to require such a step at present, a lawyer said in February.
Algeria has struggled as COVID-19 cases have risen. Sonatrach set out plans to increase enforcement of social distancing and other rules in late July. However, the company has not made vaccinations mandatory.