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At the end of last week, the German health authorities tested the four employees at the abattoir in Essen, who were found positive in the test programme launched by Danish Crown and carried out in cooperation with a local laboratory and the company’s regular doctor.

All four employees were found to be negative during the authorities' subsequent tests and thus it can be confirmed that there have been no employees infected with COVID-19 at the abattoir in Essen.

- The explanation is that the results from the tests we carry out very swiftly always undergo a second test before the infection is finally detected. We have chosen to take swift action if we get positive tests that indicate a possible infection, because we would rather be overcautious than the opposite to ensure ourselves in the best possible way, says Andreas Rode, VP Production at the abattoir in Essen.

In order to be on the safe side, Danish Crown has chosen, in consultation with the German authorities, that the four employees remain in quarantine for the next 14 days if they should be on their way to falling ill.

Unfortunately, the mentioning of the apparently positive tests last week has already meant that the Chinese authorities shut down the export of pork from the abattoir in Essen to China.

- It is a great pity that we have ended up in this situation, but on the other hand we knew that the Chinese authorities are very careful when it comes to imports from abattoirs with corona outbreaks. Now we are doing everything we can to pass on the good news to the Chinese authorities, so hopefully we can reopen exports from Essen to China relatively quickly, says Lars Albertsen, EVP Head of Global Sales at Danish Crown Pork.

At the abattoir in Essen, the intensive testing programme continues, where 20 percent of the employees are tested every week based on a risk assessment. At the same time, it has been decided that all employees at the abattoir in Essen who leave Germany for their holidays must be tested before they can return to work.