Cork meat factory to resume coronavirus testing 

Cork meat factory to resume coronavirus testing 

TESTING will take place again early next week in the Kepak plant in Watergrasshill to detect any fresh cases of Covid-19 at the plant.

There have been two rounds of testing at the factory since May 12, when blanket testing of all staff first took place.

In the first round of testing, more than 120 staff tested positive for the highly contagious virus, while a further number of staff were also found to have the virus when more testing took place on May 28.

There are more than 1,000 cases of Covid-19 in meat plants across Ireland.

The Health and Safety Authority has been engaging in visits of the meat plants which have been affected by the outbreak.

In the Dáil, the Minister for Agriculture, Michael Creed, said: “I am pleased the HSA has been in many if not all of the plants where the clusters have occurred, and my information is that it has found that most of the meat plants are working as they should in terms of the new norm and taking the appropriate steps to protect workers in the plants."

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed. 
Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed. 

"That is not to say that notwithstanding the best endeavours of everybody - the HSA, the HSE, the workers in the plants and management in the plants – one can guarantee that the plants will be kept Covid-19 free. 

"That is obviously not the case, but it is important that every one of these agencies works to ensure that we do everything possible to minimise the risk and that is what has been happening.”

In recent days, Cork North Central Fianna Fáil TD Padraig O'Sullivan asked the Minister for Health, Simon Harris, if a commitment will be given to priority testing for employees in meat plant factories in view of the close proximity of the working conditions.

Minister Harris said he would refer the matter to the Health Service Executive.

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