Kepak meat plant in Ballymahon Picture: Google Maps
Workers at the Kepak facility in Ballymahon were tested for Covid-19 earlier this month following concerns raised over issues at a number of other meat plants across the country.
Denis Naughten, TD, has welcomed confirmation by the HSE that it has established a multi-agency group to look at the current Covid-19 outbreaks in the meat processing industry, following his request at a meeting with HSE management last Wednesday.
“While work is ongoing across the country to address specific clusters of Covid-19 infection associated with meat plants and asylum centres, it was clear from my engagement with communities and public health staff that there was a need for far greater support at national level and I’m thankful to the HSE for acting swiftly on my request,” stated Deputy Naughten.
“I asked HSE management to set up a national coordination team to deal specifically with this situation and to ensure that staff, particularly non-Irish staff, are given the proper information in person and in documentation in their native language.”
It is understood that members of An Garda Síochána, HSE and Longford County Council were all present at Kepak last Friday afternoon, where they met with workers and had Portuguese and Polish translators available to ensure workers understood the importance of compliance with Covid-19 regulations.
In light of Covid-19 concerns across the country, the HSE is to issue guidance to meat processing plants to prevent further spread. There are now 10 clusters in factories across the country, which, as of last weekend, accounted for 566 cases of the virus.
Figures released on Monday indicated that, as of Saturday, May 9, there were 267 cases of Covid-19 in county Longford. That followed a spike of 104 cases, which were confirmed over the course of three days last week.
The death toll from Covid-19 in the Republic of Ireland, at the time of going to print, stood at 1,467, after another 15 people with the disease were reported to have passed away on Monday.
Monday’s figures also revealed 139 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Ireland, bringing the total to 23,135.
The government is set to ease some of the restrictions on the country from next week, entering phase one of the Roadmap for Reopening Society and Business on Monday, May 18.
For daily, up-to-date Covid-19 figures in Longford, see www.longfordleader.ie.