The Chilean salmon industry is aiming to raise 2 billion Chilean pesos ($2.4 million/ €2.2 million) through a fund aimed at supporting communities in which firms operate to cope with the coronavirus health crisis.

The fund is part of the industry's “Commitment to the South” program, created to care for the health of employees in the industry, neighbors and communities following the coronavirus outbreak.

The development was confirmed in a series of Tweets by Arturo Clement, president of salmon industry trade body SalmonChile.

"Covid 19 is a tough test that we must overcome together," he said.

Themoney raised will be managed by a committee made up of the contributing companies.

"We seek to generate direct actions for the communities in southern areas, as well as improving sanitary conditions to face this pandemic," Clement said.

While authorities imposed so called "sanitary cordons" around Chiloe Island and the Aysen region, Chilean salmon processing plants are running at just over 50 percent of capacity as companies step up measures, including flexible shifts to try to prevent contagion between workers.

Despite this some workers have fallen ill.

Salmon farming, processor and harvesting firm Blumar will quarantine 250 workers after additional positive cases of covid-19 were discovered at its Salmones de Talcahuano processing facility, slashing the plant's output to a fraction of its normal levels.

The quarantine was mandated by Chilean health authorities as five cases of coronavirus were confirmed at the plant across the maintenance and processing areas.

Separately Chile's Camanchaca has reported its first positive test among its workforce at its Pesca Sur shrimp processing plant in the country's central Biobio region.

The worker, and eight others from the company's Tome plant who were in close contact, have gone into self-isolation, after Camanchaca implemented strict protocols to try to prevent the spread of the disease.

This report has been corrected as an earlier version incorrectly stated the Chilean salmon industry was was aiming to raise $2 billion (€1.85 billion) through the fund.

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