COVID-19: Ghana reopens fish factory after 500 workers tested positive

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A fish-processing plant in Ghana where more than 500 workers tested positive for the coronavirus has partially reopened, owner Thai Union Group PCL said on Tuesday.

Ghana’s President, Nana Akufo-Addo, said on Sunday that one worker at the fish factory in the coastal city of Tema had infected 533 other employees.

Local government and trade union officials have confirmed to Reuters that the plant is Pioneer Food Cannery Limited, which is owned by Thai Union, the world’s top producer of canned tuna.

A Thai Union spokesperson said the plant, which closed on April 17 after an employee tested positive, re-opened on Monday with a limited number of staff who had been cleared to carry out maintenance and clear backlogs.

“We have decided to remain closed but have been making every effort to reopen in phases as workers are cleared to return to work following negative tests,” the spokesperson said.

It will run with limited capacity until it is able to return to full operations.

The company said it had facilitated testing of its employees, but it declined to confirm how many of them had tested positive beyond the initial case. It also did not respond to a question about how the virus had spread among its workers.

The cases at the plant were part of a backlog going back as far as April 26 that pushed Ghana’s case total to the highest in West Africa when they were first reported last week.

As of Tuesday, Ghana had reported 5,127 cases, including 22 deaths. It has also conducted by far the most tests in the region.

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