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(LEAD) 50 employees of livestock meat facility additionally diagnosed with COVID-19

All News 16:50 March 08, 2021

(ATTN: UPDATES with more details in paras 5-7, 9)

ANSEONG, South Korea, March 8 (Yonhap) -- More than 50 employees from a livestock meat processing and auction facility south of Seoul have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Monday, becoming the latest in a recent string of mass infections at industrial workplaces.

According to the municipality of Anseong, 77 kilometers from Seoul, 50 employees of the Anseong Livestock Product Joint Market were additionally confirmed to be infected with COVID-19 after two others first tested positive for the virus Saturday.

The Anseong Livestock Product Joint Market in Anseong, 77 km south of Seoul, is closed on March 8, 2021, after more than 50 of its 570 employees tested positive for the coronavirus. (Yonhap)

The city's health authorities have been conducting the coronavirus tests on all of the livestock facility's 570 employees and initially singled out the 50 patients, with 100 of them yielding negative results.

But the number of COVID-19 cases is expected to further rise, as 125 employees are still waiting for their test results, municipal officials said, adding reexaminations are still under way for 45 others.

The 50 infected employees, who mostly belong to the facility's subcontractors, were mainly in charge of washing the by-products of disassembled livestock products. Of them, 21 are foreign nationals who have lived together at an accommodation near the facility.

As of Monday noon, about 500 employees completed the coronavirus tests.

In what appears to be community transmissions, eight other people who came into contact with the infected employees, including their family members, have also caught COVID-19, they said.

The officials noted they have yet to determine the exact transmission routes for the initial confirmed cases at the livestock facility, which has been shut down due to the cluster outbreak.

They said the infected employees have worked closely together in a cramped, confined and poorly ventilated space, rendering them vulnerable to mass transmissions.


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