June 23, 2020
Brazilian government introduces new meatpacker guidelines to manage COVID-19
The Brazilian government has introduced new guidelines for meatpackers after an increase in COVID-19 cases at meat plants in the country, Reuters reported.
The new guidelines from Brazil's ministry of agriculture include keeping meat plant workers spaced one metre apart on the production floor, but if that cannot be enforced then workers must wear surgical masks plus other protective equipment. Partitions must be built between workers.
In addition, workers with COVID-19 symptoms must be removed for two weeks, and all workers in contact with an infected worker must be track.
However, the measures do not include mandatory COVID-19 tests.
The Brazilian labour prosecutor's office has objected to the new measures, deeming it ineffective to combat the spread of COVID-19.
The guidelines were published after discussions with the labour prosecutor's office. But a representative from the labour prosecutor's office said the new guidelines did not take into account recommendations such as 1.5 metre distancing, mass testing, and quality of face masks for workers.
As of June 19, Rio Grande do Sul state in southern Brazil reported 24% of all COVID-19 cases come from meat plants in the area, based on data provided by labour prosecutors and state health authorities.
Guidelines from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention state meatpacking workers must be 2 metres apart.