The Brazilian Ministry of Agriculture released updated guidelines for meatpackers Friday after the country’s meatpacking plants saw a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases.
The guidelines call for at least 1 meter of space between workers, according to a release. If that is not possible, workers must wear surgical masks and be divided by “impermeable partitions” and given plastic visors or goggles to wear.
According to a Reuters article, labor prosecutors said the guidelines “ignored key recommendations made by the office that specified minimum distancing of 1.5 meters between workers in common areas of the plant, as well as mass testing.”
The guidelines also call for companies to monitor employees for any symptoms of COVID-19 and to remove workers immediately if they are suspected of having the virus. Workers who are sent home should not be allowed to return for 14 days, it said.
Almost 24% of cases found in Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil’s southernmost state, were workers in the local meat industry, Reuters noted. As of Monday evening, The New York Times reported that Brazil had about 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 50,617 deaths.
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