BELGIUM, Staden. The Belgian slaughterhouse is able to continue production under restrictions, although many employees are infected.
From last Wednesday to Monday, a total of 74 employees at Westvlees have tested positive for coronavirus. Belgian media reported that 225 employees of the plant were recently quarantined. Only the cutting department had been closed because no Covid-19 infections had been detected in the other areas. Meanwhile, the Flemish health authority (AZG) emphasised that the situation in Westvlees was different from coronavirus infections in slaughterhouses in neighbouring countries. For example, the staff of German companies came to work every day in minibuses, which was of little consequence in Westvlees. It is much more important here to identify infected people and make sure that they do not come into contact with healthy people.
According to the mayor of Staden, Fancesco Vanderjeugd, a temporary closure of the plant would be disproportionate. Westvlees had taken preventive measures against the further spread of the virus. In the municipality, a general obligation to wear masks in public places has been in force since Saturday.
Westvlees slaughters about 1.4 mill. pigs per year and produces about 120,000 t of pork, according to its own statements. The company belongs to the Belgian Pork Group, the largest pork supplier in the neighbouring country. The group has a total of seven plants in Belgium and produces a total of 420,000 t of pork per year.