Virus cluster at Guatemala textile plant

Coronavirus has spread rapidly among workers at a Guatemalan textile plant.
Coronavirus has spread rapidly among workers at a Guatemalan textile plant.

More than 200 workers at an export-focused textile plant in Guatemala have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and more results are pending in what could be one of the country's largest outbreaks.

Zulma Calderon, from Guatemala's Human Rights prosecutor's office, said they began receiving reports in early May that infected workers were continuing to work at the K.P. Textil plant in San Miguel Petapa and the company wasn't taking protective measures.

On May 12, the local health agency advised of six positive cases among the plant's at least 900 workers, but advised that plant management was not cooperating.

Francisco Reyes, the plant's manager, denies authorities told him workers had tested positive , before he decided to close the plant on May 12 for two weeks.

Guatemala has had more than 3,300 confirmed infections and 58 deaths.

Petapa Mayor Mynor Morales said the factory's outbreak had deeply worried his city, which is home to many export-oriented factories.

He was evaluating with his lawyers the possibility of presenting a complaint against the factory's owners to establish whether there was negligence on their part.

Outbreaks at other export-oriented plants have been reported elsewhere in the region, especially Mexico where border assembly plants tried to continue operating during the pandemic.

Australian Associated Press