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Brazil’s BRF closes Rio Verde meat plant and tests entire workforce for COVID-19

Major Brazilian food processor BRF SA has closed its largest plant in Brazil since 5 June as it tests nearly 8,600 workers for COVID-19.

11 June 2020, at 10:04am

Reuters reports that BRF did not give a timeline for reopening the Rio Verde facility, which processes pork and chicken in Goiás.

BRF said it tested all employees at the facility between 5 and 6 June, and that 32 percent of the results are available. The company did not indicate whether any workers at the plant tested positive for coronavirus.

A representative from the labour prosecutor’s office told Reuters that 480 of the applied tests had been processed and 262 employees at the BRF plant had tested positive for the virus.

BRF did not have an immediate comment on the results it received.

The labour prosecutor's office said BRF used polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests on the workforce, and after a high rate of infections, the company voluntarily closed the plant and decided to retest employees.

BRF had said earlier in the day that starting on 10 June it would conduct additional testing in groups of employees in a bid to reopen the massive plant under the safest possible conditions, but did not elaborate on the reasons.

Brazil has emerged as the latest pandemic epicentre with more than 739,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases - second only to the United States - and more than 38,000 related deaths reported.

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