On Saturday 20 June, following the detection of a coronavirus outbreak, the Spanish Ministry of Health ordered the temporary closure of Frutas La Espesa, one of the largest fresh produce companies in the Bajo Cinca district, in the province of Huesca. Last Sunday, 178 PCR and serological tests were carried out among the company's employees, and so far, 14 people have tested positive.
This and two other outbreaks reported in the province in recent days have led Aragon's Health Service to take three districts back to phase 2 of the state of emergency: Bajo Cinca, Cinca Medio and La Litera.
The director-general of the Health Service of Aragon, Francisco Javier Falo, announced on Monday that the figures will certainly increase in the coming days, as the epidemiological curve is in the upward phase.
Frutas La Espesa is located in the Bajo Cinca district, where fruit cultivation is a very important sector. The company has been active for more than 35 years in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables, for which it has 350 hectares, but also in the sale of its own production, for which it has several warehouses.
Depending on each season's needs, the firm employs between 200 and 300 seasonal workers. On average, it produces about 30,000 tons of fruit, mainly peaches, nectarines, Paraguayo peaches, apricots, pears, apples and kakis.
The company has said that it has always adhered to all safety measures decreed by the health authorities. For example, the body temperature of the workers is measured every day before they enter the orchards, the correct use of the masks is checked and there are also disinfectant foot mats.
For his part, Óscar Mored, head of the Fruit Department of the Aragonese agricultural union UAGA, said that the company has complied with all imposed precautions.
He also recalled that the fruit sector has been coexisting with the virus from the start of the crisis and that there have always been fears of possible new outbreaks.
Mored also asked for seasonal workers not to be stigmatized, because people are getting infected in all kinds of companies. "We would not like the virus to be explicitly linked to immigrant harvest workers."