France hit by new Covid-19 outbreaks in two abattoirs

Officials say that in at least one of the slaughterhouses, the security protocol is said to have been followed.
Officials say that in at least one of the slaughterhouses, the security protocol is said to have been followed. © Xavier Leoty, AFP file picture

Around a hundred people are believed to have been infected by the coronavirus in newly discovered outbreaks in two French abattoirs.

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One abattoir is in the central Val de Loire region near the city of Orléans. The other is in the northwestern region of Brittany.

Regional health officials said 63 of the 209 workers at the Breton slaughterhouse had so far tested positive for the virus.

At the slaughterhouse in Fleury-les-Aubrais, near Orléans, officials there said they had detected a “cluster” of 34 cases among the 400 workers. Another 40 were tested on Sunday with others following on Tuesday.

“According to the company’s human resources department, there were masks, gels, temperature readings at the entrance to the slaughterhouse and it seems that the protocol was followed,” said regional prefect Pierre Pouessël.

But staff at the plant said that despite the protective gear, social distancing rules have been difficult to follow. “It’s above all [been a problem] in the changing rooms. There’s not a lot of space,” one unidentified worker said.

At the local market, residents say they are worried about the outbreak taking place at a food production plant. “It makes you not want to buy meat because you wonder if the meat is contaminated. It’s scary,” a Fleury-les-Aubrais resident said.

All of the abattoir’s staff will be tested for the coronavirus within the next few days, and the plant will stay closed until May 25, at least.

The overall picture in France, however, with a continuing fall in both hospital deaths and admissions for the virus, was better news.

Four regions, in the north and the east of the country – including the Paris region – account for 74 percent of the number of people being treated in hospital.

Since the virus arrived in France, 98,569 people have been hospitalised, of whom 17,500 had to be treated in intensive care, and 28,000 have died. More than 61,000 have recovered and been allowed home.

(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

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