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ROUNDUP / Corona in meat factory: criticism of conditions, more than 200 infected | message


DSSELDORF / COESFELD (dpa-AFX) – After the corona outbreak in a meat factory in Coesfeld with more than 200 infected workers, there is massive criticism of the conditions in the factory. The administrative court Mnster on Sunday rejected an urgent application from Westfleisch against the temporary closure of the slaughtering and cutting plant concerned. The company had become “a significant epidemiological source of danger” not only for the workforce “due to evidently insufficient precautionary measures”, the reasoning stated. Unions demanded tighter controls and fundamentally better working conditions in all meat factories.

The number of workers in the company who tested positive for the coronavirus rose to 205 by Sunday noon, according to the district. Almost half of the results from around 950 corona tests were available. Teams from the health department were on site again on Sunday to test the workers in their scattered accommodation in the Coesfeld district and to instruct them about the quarantine, as a district spokesman said. They supported interpreters. The company concerned has a total of around 1200 employees. According to Westfleisch, the majority of the workers are accommodated in apartments with three, four or five people. Many workers in the meat industry come from Eastern Europe.

The consequences of the Corona outbreak are serious for the Coesfeld district. Many of the loosening of the corona requirements for restaurants and shops planned nationwide from Monday onwards were postponed by a week. The circle thus reacted to the federal-state agreements that were made last Wednesday. If a certain limit of new infections is exceeded, these immediately provide a consistent restriction concept. In addition, the up to 20,000 employees of all slaughterhouses in North Rhine-Westphalia are to be tested for the Corona virus.

The district of Coesfeld had closed the Westfleisch factory from Saturday to May 18. It can be assumed that there is still an undetermined number of suspected corona cases or infections there, according to the court order. Westfleisch, on the other hand, can lodge an appeal with the Higher Administrative Court of NRW within two weeks.

The Office for Occupational Safety and Health found during a check that there are problems both in the area of ​​the dismantling tape and in the changing rooms to keep the minimum distance of 1.50 meters, the court said. The mouth-nose protection masks are not worn correctly on the cutting tape. The company was not able to identify main areas of infection.

Westfleisch was concerned. They are in close contact with the approximately 5,400 employees and the farmers. Westfleisch is working “under high pressure” on solutions for farmers. With reference to the West Flisch-Lippischen-Agricultural Association (WLV), the company announced that around 1000 pork fatteners supply the Westfleisch location in Coesfeld.

NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet (CDU) justified stopping the easing of restrictions. “If you open, you have to act consistently where there is danger,” said Laschet on Saturday in Bochum. “The protection of the population is paramount.”

The Green Association in Dlmen in the Coesfeld district accused the administration of reacting too late to the Corona outbreak. It was already known at the beginning of last week that a hotspot of the pandemic had formed in the meat factory. However, the operation continued until Friday.

The district of Steinfurt im Mnsterland also tested residents of collective accommodation under high pressure, who work especially in meat processing companies. A total of around 1,700 residents in around 100 accommodation units were registered from almost all cities and towns, the district said.

According to an overview by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Sunday, the number of new infections in the district of Coesfeld was around 85 per 100,000 inhabitants and week (as of May 10, 00:00). According to the RKI on Saturday, this average had been 76 (as of May 9, 00:00). However, the RKI points out that, among other things, a delay in data transmission can lead to discrepancies between its information and the actual local numbers. The circle itself did not initially provide any figures. Auer Coesfeld, all other districts and independent cities in NRW were significantly below the limit of 50 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants agreed by the federal and state governments in the past seven days.

Meanwhile, there was a debate about working and health conditions in slaughterhouses. DGB board member Anja Piel said: “In slaughterhouses, much more has to be done to reduce the risks to health and safety of employees.” The industry has been striking with miserable working conditions for years.

Vice-Chairman of the Food, Beverage and Catering Union (NGG), Freddy Adjan, said: “This crisis shows how overwhelming it is to stop and end the ruinous price war for meat.” Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil (SPD) called on the responsible countries to take action and to monitor health and safety regulations./dot/DP/he

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