Court orders JBS pork plant in Brazil shut for 14 days amid coronavirus fears

FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: A JBS SA's poultry factory employee is pictured after the company was hit by an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Passo Fundo, state of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, April 24, 2020. REUTERS/Diego Vara/File Photo

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - A Brazilian judge has suspended activities at a pork plant owned by meatpacker JBS SA JBSS3.SA in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul for 14 days, according to a copy of the decision seen Friday night.

As part of the decision, employees in high-risk groups are to be removed immediately and doctors will be given access to medical records at the plant. The judge also requested that JBS test the workers using protocols established by the Health Ministry.

JBS did not immediately respond to a request for comment outside business hours.

According to the suit from prosecutors calling plant to be shut down, which was seen by Reuters on Wednesday, 21 of for the the plant’s 1,700 employees had contracted the novel coronavirus and two were hospitalized. In the state of Rio Grande do Sul alone, there were some 3,201 cases among all meat plant workers, prosecutors said.

Reporting by Ana Mano; Writing by Gram Slattery; Editing by Leslie Adler