A surge of migrant workers have been flocking various European countries to get back to work, at the risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus. Their personal safety has been compromised from the onset. Most businesses that deal with fresh fruits and vegetables are looking to source migrant work force and are getting them transported at the earliest.
But the number of cases of migrant workers contracting infection in farmhouses and farm settings has gradually increased.
Currently, it is confirmed that Scotlynn Group, an international agriculture company based in Vittoria Ontario that has been hit by a coronavirus outbreak involving migrant workers.
Other facilities to be effected includes a farm operation in Norfolk County, south of Simcoe with 85 migrant workers tested positive for the virus and the Haldimand-Norfolk Health Unit. The former is the latest agricultural facility in Ontario. Five workers have been confirmed to have been hospitalized and approximately 25 others who tested positive are showing symptoms of the virus.
Many of the workers employed by the Scotlynn Group are from Mexico. The farming company is a major producer of sweet corn, watermelon, asparagus and pumpkins. Even some farming properties in London that have employed migrant workers have reported spike in corona virus cases.
The pandemic seems to be seeing an upsurge amongst agriculture native farmers and migrant workers too. It is difficult to identify as to who is the carrier of the infection from the onset as many workers have been coming in from Spain and Mexico to work in Canada and England. Meanwhile human rights groups have been raising concerns over the treatment of migrant workers.
Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, migrant farm workers have complained about crowded housing, the threat of deportation, racism and harassment. Cross infection is possible as most of the migrants have been brought into crowded planes, without maintaining strict social distancing protocols. Most of them are overworked, underpaid and underfed.