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Brazil judge rules that JBS must test workers for COVID-19 under 10-day deadline

On 12 August, a labour court judge ruled that meat packing giant JBS SA has 10 days to medically screen workers at its Garibaldi chicken plant.

13 August 2020, at 9:30am

Reuters reports that the ruling states that JBS must pay for COVID-19 testing for every worker.

More than 900 people work at the plant in Rio Grande do Sul state, of which 230 have already tested positive for the novel coronavirus, prosecutors who sought the order said, citing data from local health services.

In a statement to Reuters, JBS reiterated that protecting the health of its employees is a priority.

Without commenting specifically on the ruling, it defended its prevention protocols against COVID-19 and said the company is compliant with federal rules passed in June for operating during the pandemic.

The company has dealt with COVID-19 outbreaks at plants in Brazil and in the United States. Sometimes the outbreaks led to temporary plant closures.

At Garibaldi, seven workers have been hospitalised and one died, the prosecutors told the court.

In the 12 August ruling, Brazilian labour Judge Graciela Maffei also ordered JBS to ensure that its Garibaldi workers remain at least 2 meters (6 feet) apart at the facility's entrances and exits, during shift changes, in changing rooms and other areas of the factory such as the restaurant.

Maffei also ruled that JBS should supply and supervise use of PFF2 respirators by all employees there, including on the buses that ferry them to work.

Each worker should receive a new respirator every day, according to a copy of the ruling.

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