Currently facing a pandemic, Chilean salmon workers and residents are taking to the streets against what they see are insufficient measures against the virus.
Diario Financiero reports that local communities in Chiloé, Chile, (the heart of the country’s salmon farming and processing industry) are putting up roadblocks halting operations.
1.- Se implementa Barrera Sanitaria en Chiloé, con ingreso sólo para abastecimiento y Salud.
2.- Chiloé con CERO casos de #covid19chile
3.-Gobierno ante presión de Salmoneras rompe Barrera usando la fuerza
4.-Los Chilotes ante esta provocación bloquean Ruta 5 en varios sectores pic.twitter.com/qM5xKp8lhp
— Javier (@Javier56253419) March 25, 2020
They are saying that alleging authorities are not effectively closing the area, so as not to affect the economic interests of the salmon companies in the area. They argue that the main problem is the constant entry and exit of trucks from salmon farmers who they believe be spreading the coronavirus.
Unions, including the National Salmon Workers Confederation and more, sent a letter to President Piñera and also to the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, to halt operations earlier in the week.
Chile: Residents at #Chiloe Island are blocking roads, demanding a total lockdown to prevent spread of #Coronavirus. 180k ppl. live there and don't have a single hospital to face the crisis. Govt. not offering solutions and it's using police to attack them!#CuarentenaTotalYa pic.twitter.com/xO6C3WLuEZ
— R. Velez (@errevelez90) March 25, 2020
Health authorities confirmed the first case of coronavirus in Chiloé on Wednesday reported BioBioChile.
SalmonChile President Arturo Clément told Diario Financiero that he was aware of the concerns and said: “We are making enormous efforts to adopt extraordinary measures in labour and health matters to prevent contagion”
Though he added that industry has had difficulties in terms of logistics, and both its plants and its farms are operating at low capacity “with fewer operators per shift and processing a much smaller quantity of salmon”.