Over 800 COVID-19 cases found in Ireland’s meat processing plants: report

A total of 828 people working at meat processing plants in Ireland have been confirmed infected with COVID-19, Irish national radio and television broadcaster RTE reported on Wednesday.

The report quoted health authorities as saying that of all the confirmed cases in the meat processing plants, 328 were reported over the last week, making such a place another potential hot spot for outbreaks of clusters of infections in the country.

In the early stage of the COVID-19 outbreak in Ireland, most clusters of infections were reported in the long-term residential care facilities, especially nursing homes where the coronavirus has killed many elderly people.

Meat Industry Ireland (MII), an organization representing the interests of meat processing plant owners, told RTE that they have taken a wide range of measures to tackle the outbreak of the disease.

Earlier this month, a pork processing plant in County Offaly in central Ireland made it compulsory for its workers to take temperature screening, wear face coverings, and keep social distancing at worksite after nearly one tenth of its 600 employees were found infected with COVID-19, according to local media reports.

MII Senior Director Cormac Healy said that meat processors in the country will continue to work with health authorities to contain the spread of the virus.

He also said that 60 percent of the workers at meat processing plants who had contracted the virus had returned to work.

According to MMI, there are an estimated 15,000 people working at meat processing plants in Ireland.