Thai Union confirmed Tuesday it closed a cannery in Ghana after an employee tested positive for COVID-19 at its cannery in the country -- a case government and labor officials claim led to the spread of the virus to over 500 people, accounting for 11 percent of the overall cases in the country.
The positive test results were received on April 17, and the company said it immediately closed its subsidiary, Tema-based Pioneer Food Cannery (PFC), on a temporary basis for disinfection and cleaning, "as well as any necessary self-quarantining of staff and tracing of contacts to identify any potential risks."
The company made the announcement after Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo reported the outbreak on a live television address to the nation on Sunday, Reuters reported.
Thai Union said it has facilitated Covid-19 testing for its employees with the Ghanaian govenrment and the Tema Metro Health Directorate. The company is currently awaiting testing results, and is having some employees re-tested for the virus, it said.
The company noted it has already taken measures to prevent the virus spread that include temperature checks at entrances and exits, provision of alcohol rubs to facilitate hand sanitizing regularly, social distancing, wearing of masks and requiring self-declaration of any symptoms as well as regular monitoring of staff health.
Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said the case at the plant infected 533 people, which makes up around 11 percent of the country's total cases, reported Reuters. He said a handful of workers at the other major fish processing facility in the country, Cosmo Seafoods, also tested positive for the virus.
Abraham Koomson, the head of the Ghana Federation of Labour, tied the 533 cases to Thai Union's plant, Reuters reported.
Thai Union did not comment to IntraFish on the total tally linked to its plant, but said it is in the process of determining the extend of the outbreak.
"We have been in discussion with all relevant local authorities and health experts, who have indicated a number of potential cases in PFC," a spokesperson told IntraFish.
"We are working closely with them to re-test employees in order to fully clarify these results"
Thai Union is one of several seafood processors that have reported cases of Covid-19 in recent weeks.
Chilean salmon processors Blumar and Camanchaca both reported outbreaks, as did Norwegian salmon group Leroy Seafood. In the United States, Trident Seafoods, Ocean Beauty Seafoods, Pacific Seafood and Blue Harvest Fisheries have all had employees experience cases.