Fortescue (ASX:FMG) share price falls on COVID-19 scare

Fortescue shares took a tumble after a COVID scare

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The Fortescue Metals Group Limited (ASX: FMG) share price was out of form on Thursday.

The mining giant’s shares ended the day 3.5% lower at $23.27.

Why did the Fortescue share price tumble?

The catalyst for the weakness in the Fortescue share price on Thursday was news that one of its contractors had tested positive for COVID-19.

This afternoon Fortescue confirmed that the Western Australian Department of Health has advised the company that a maintenance contractor returned a weak positive test result for COVID-19.

The worker, who was at the Cloudbreak mine site located in the Pilbara region of Western Australia from Tuesday 20 July to Tuesday 27 July 2021, is understood to have previously had COVID-19. As a result, he is not believed to have been infectious during this period.

Furthermore, the Department of Health has advised that the contractor has subsequently returned a negative test result.

Nevertheless, Fortescue isn’t taking any risks. It has been working closely with the Department of Health to identify close and casual contacts who had been at Cloudbreak or Perth Airport during certain times. These identified contacts have been asked to undertake COVID-19 testing and isolate.

Testing blitz

As of today, Fortescue notes that over 1,200 PCR tests and 850 rapid antigen tests have been completed across Fortescue’s operational sites. Positively, all rapid antigen tests have returned negative results. Though, the results are still pending for the PCR tests.

Fortescue suspended certain operations whilst the testing was being conducted. But full operations are expected to be returned by the end of today at the Cloudbreak mine site and across all operations, subject to the completion of the testing program. Positively, this is not expected to have any impact on Fortescue’s shipments.

Fortescue’s Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth Gaines, said: “The safety of all our team members, their families and our local communities is our highest priority. We have robust COVID-19 management protocols in place and are taking every precaution to ensure COVID-19 does not impact our operations.”

“Our Incident Management Team has worked effectively to assist with contact tracing efforts and our decision to invest in rapid antigen testing has allowed us to immediately test our team members.”

“We believe that vaccination is the key to protecting our workforce and have encouraged all our team members to receive a vaccine in line with current directions from the Federal Government,” she concluded.

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Motley Fool contributor James Mickleboro has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia’s parent company Motley Fool Holdings Inc. has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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