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Deaths and infections shut factories in US, Europe; India has no impact
Monday, 29 June, 2020, 08 : 00 AM [IST]
Kimberley Fernandes, Mumbai
Dozens of workers at Tyson Foods and Smithfield Foods in the US died and more than 700 at a single plant were infected as Corona virus continues its spread across the world. In Europe, some 1,500 workers at Tonnies Foods in Germany tested positive. All these plants were shut subsequently. In India, however, there has not been any such closure of food factories because of infection among workers.

Of course, as we are aware, India has taken several proactive measures such as clamping nationwide lockdown early and ensuring that it was followed properly. Further, the unlocking is being done systematically with emphasis on safeguarding containment zones. Ram Kutwal, MD, Kutwal Foods, Pune, avers, “There has not been a single case reported in India of food processing workers getting infected and factory shut. That is because, India has implemented the lockdown well. Even factories allowed to operate are working at 50% or lesser capacity. Thus chances of infection are nil. Also containment zones are being adhered to.”

Echoing his views, Arpan Basu, general manager, public affairs and communications, Coca-Cola India and South West Asia, said: “With respect to our manufacturing facilities, almost all our factories have resumed production under very stringent safety protocols prescribed by governments and in conformity to our global standards. As a responsible beverage company, we are conscious of our responsibility to cater to hydration needs of our consumers.”

Though, a few manufacturing centres world over have temporarily shut operations due to some of the staff testing positive for Covid-19, Basu informs that it does not have any impact on the manufacturing centres here in India.

“Coca-Cola’s operation is always very local to every market we operate in and India is no different. We have manufacturing facilities in almost all states barring a few, said incidences have no impact in India. We are following the highest safety and personal hygiene standards in our operations. We have been developing a local and, as a matter of fact, a hyperlocal approach towards business.”

Insisting on a similar adherence to safety protocols, Varun Chaudhary, executive director, CG Corp Global, said, “Safety of our employees across manufacturing, sales and corporate offices is our foremost priority in times of Covid. For our manufacturing workforce, we deployed stringent changes in standard operating procedures. Thermal scanning has been installed in each of our seven factories across India. Awareness campaigns are being driven to sensitise our employees as all employees have been trained to adapt the required measures such as wearing masks, social distancing, regular hygiene and sanitisation.”

“With offices being resumed, we have implemented strict safety protocols to adapt to the new way of life. From changing the seating arrangements in compliance with social distancing, to regular sanitisation of office premises to checking of each employee before they are allowed to enter the building,” he added.

Umesh Kamble, director, Farm To Fork Solution India Pvt. Ltd, shared his views on the current situation. “The company is taking many measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19. These include thermal screening of employees and good staff hygienic practices.” He concluded, “The number of people currently working on a daily basis - 50 per cent of the total staff.”
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