More than 1,000 workers have now tested positive for COVID-19 at a Tönnies abattoir in northwestern Germany.
The factory was already closed for an indefinite period, following initial reports of the outbreak and this latest increase in the number of confirmed will raise further questions about the timing of any re-opening.
In its latest market update, Thames Valley Cambac said the closure was having a knock-on effect on the UK cull sow market.
According to a report by Reuters, the local health authorities have ordered all 6,500 employees and their families at the Rheda-Wiedenbrück meat processing plant to go into quarantine.
Speaking at a press conference on Saturday, the meat company’s proprietor, Clemens Toennies, described the outbreak presented an ‘existential crisis’ for the company, which has suspended operations as authorities seek to control the outbreak.
“As a company we thought we had done everything right,” he said, adding that the company had struggled to collect the personal data of employees and contractors so that authorities could trace the outbreak,” he said.
“As an entrepreneur I can only apologise. We have caused this and are fully responsible for it.”
There have been a number of significant outbreaks in German pork plants and this incident is a big blow to the country, which is seeing a wider upsurge in cases.