Helmond slaughterhouse closed over 21 coronavirus infections

Van Rooi Meat slaughterhouse in Helmond was ordered closed on Thursday evening after 21 employees tested positive for the coronavirus in a sample testing. The meat processing company will have to stay closed until at least Tuesday, local security region Veiligheidsregio Brabant-Zuidoost announced.

The employees were tested after the food and consumer product safety authority NVWA and the quality assessor for the animal sector KDS tested their own personnel working at this location and found that some of them had the coronavirus. A total of 130 Van Rooi Meat employees were tested, 21 tested positive. 

The employees who tested positive will be quarantined for two weeks, as will their housemates. They will be given accommodation in a hotel in the region, according to NU.nl. On Friday, the safety region will announce the next steps to be taken at Van Rooi Meat, together with health service GGD. These steps will likely include testing all employees working at Van Rooi Meat. 

This is the third slaughterhouse in the Netherlands ordered closed because the coronavirus. A Vion slaughterhouse in Apeldoorn was closed for violating social distancing measures. And another Vion slaughterhouse in Groenlo was closed after 147 of its workers tested positive for the coronavirus.

Minister Carola Schouten of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality met with the meat sector and said that businesses in this sector need to do more to protect their employees. She said that she is not out to close slaughterhouses, but the ball is in their court.