In this file:


·         Army called in to help test German abattoir workers

·         Covid-19: Tönnies closes largest pork plant in Germany



Army called in to help test German abattoir workers


The Times (UK)

June 20 2020


Soldiers have been drafted in to help to test thousands of workers at Germany’s biggest meat processing plant after a coronavirus outbreak that led to the shutdown of schools in the city of Gütersloh, about 80 miles west of Hanover.


A total of 730 workers at the plant belonging to the Tönnies group have already tested positive and a further 5,300 tests have yet to be completed. About 7,000 people have been quarantined.


Karl-Josef Laumann, the health minister of the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, said that he would commission research into the high incidence of infections among workers in the meat processing sector amid speculatoin that the cold environment of abattoirs and the cramped living conditions of contract workers enabled the virus to spread...


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Covid-19: Tönnies closes largest pork plant in Germany


Kees van Dooren, Pig Progress

Jun 19, 2020  


Whoever thought that things in Europe were already easing with regard to Covid-19 and the closure of meat plants, might want to think again. One of Germany’s largest pork plants had to temporarily close due to Covid-19 infections of many workers.


At meatpacker Tönnies Fleisch in Rheda-Wiedenbrück, in the German state North Rhine Westphalia, the majority of employees tested positive for Covid-19. The meatpacker had to shut down its operations immediately. While tests are ongoing, by Thursday June 16, 730 out of 1,106 employees had tested positive, German agricultural media Top Agrar reported.


Quarantine for pork plant employees


The pork plant’s board has taken firm measures to limit the risk of further spread of the virus. All infected employees working at the plant, as well as those with whom they were in contact, had to be quarantined. That quarantine also applies to anybody who is working on the slaughterhouse’s premises and who hasn’t been tested as yet. According to the local authorities in the Gütersloh area, where the plant is located, the measures apply to about 7,000 people.


The board has decided not to apply a complete lockdown in the Gütersloh area. Nevertheless, kindergartens and schools have been closed down – a situation that will last until the summer holidays. It is unclear until when exactly the pork plant will remain closed.


Closure will disrupt the German pig market


It is expected that the closure will strongly disrupt the German pig market, according to experts talking to German agricultural media SUS. On a daily basis, the plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrück can deal with 20,000 pigs. Making sure those pigs can be slaughtered elsewhere is not an easy task, which may have an effect on pig prices.


Over the last week, things turned for the worse in Rheda-Wiedenbrück. The number of infected employees grew fast and on Tuesday, there already was an announcement that production would be lowered, to allow people to observe more social distancing. In addition, sow slaughter has also ceased for some while.


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