108 Covid-19 cases at Cork and Wexford meat plants

A total of 108 Covid-19 cases have been confirmed at two meat processing plants in counties Cork and Wexford.

Slaney Foods in Co. Wexford has been notified of 42 positive cases following a screening of staff on Friday last (January 22).

Meanwhile, ABP Bandon in Co. Cork has been notified of 66 positive Covid-19 cases, following screening of staff there last week.

In separate statements, both plants confirmed that all close contacts of those impacted are self isolating. Both sites are currently operating at a “significantly reduced capacity”.

The two plants also said that they will work with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the matter, highlighting staff safety and public health.

In their respective statements, both plants highlighted measures taken since the start of the pandemic to minimise the spread of the virus, including limiting site access to essential personal; temperature checks at entry; staggered break times; and perspex partitions, along with other measures.

On-farm inspections ‘essential work’

In other Covid-19 related news, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has said that conducting on-farm inspections is deemed essential work amid the current tight Covid-19 restrictions.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question from independent TD for Roscommon-Galway Denis Naughten who asked why “departmental inspectors are still performing on-farm inspections during the Level 5 restrictions, given the potential risk of spreading Covid-19 when it is not deemed essential work”.

In his response to this, Minister McConalogue disagreed with deputy Naughten, saying: “Conducting on-farm inspections is deemed essential work… In certain situations, a farm visit is required in order to complete the pre-payment checks and controls necessary to make vital payments to these farmers.”