FEARS of COVID-19 outbreaks amongst seasonal agricultural workers has led to a meeting between government ministers and regional leaders in Spain.
The Minister of Health, Salvador Illa led a meeting alongside Minister of Agriculture Luis Planas to organise with 11 autonomous governments a plan to stop the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming harvest.
The proposals were aimed across Spain but specifically targeted the Andalucian regions of Malaga and Cordoba as they account for a large majority of the country’s seasonal influx.
Overall emphasis was placed on protecting local communities, most of which rely solely on the agricultural industry, as well on the integration of seasonal staff that work on the fields.
The upcoming fruit and vegetable harvest will take place in the final two weeks of August, and Illa is urging local communities to have proper measures in place before the workers arrive.
“The harvest happens the same time every year, so there is no excuse not to adapt the situation to ensure that safety is paramount,” said Illa during the 45 minute video conference.
Illa made it clear that co-operatives must make sure that they adapt the workers’ accommodation and ensure that they are transported to the field correctly.
No word has been given about the use of masks in the field but many people are hoping that leeway is given and social distancing is emphasised.
Areas of Cordoba and Malaga can reach temperatures of 45c in August, so to carry out strenuous work in the summer heat could potentially cause other severe problems such as heatstroke and exhaustion.