May 15, 2020 / 9:52 PM / 18 days ago

Brazilian lender Bradesco starts diagnostic tests on workers

SAO PAULO, May 15 (Reuters) - Brazilian lender Banco Bradesco SA said on Friday it had started to test branch employees for COVID-19, the first part of a program planned for almost all of its nearly 100,000 employees.

Bradesco, the second largest private-sector Brazilian lender, said the first tests had been carried out on about 100 employees of branches in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.

“This mapping will allow us to contribute to our national effort to flatten the disease spread curve,” Bradesco Chief Executive Octavio de Lazari said in a statement.

The lack of mass testing has been one of the main obstacles to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus in Brazil, which on Thursday recorded its highest daily number of cases yet.

Private companies have been stepping in to compensate for the government’s low testing capacity.

Sergio Rial, chief executive officer at Banco Santander Brasil, said last month the bank would begin testing its employees. Senior management has already been tested.

Manufacturers Marcopolo and Randon have bought 5,000 tests each for returning employees. (Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)

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