With more than 40 employees at MTR Foods having tested positive for the coronavirus infection, the ready-to-eat instant food manufacturer has decided to shut operations at its production facility in Bommasandra till July 20.
"The first asymptomatic, positive case was found at the factory on July 6, on the basis on which we took the immediate decision of shutting down our factory and sanitizing our premises. The safety and well-being of our employees is paramount and as a result of which our operations will remain closed until July 20 to mitigate any risk," the company said in a statement.
After the factory's closure on July 7, sanitisation protocols were followed. Primary contacts were quarantined and isolation of secondary contacts through contact tracing was undertaken. Health authorities also gave a clearance to resume factory operation by July 10. But the company has decided to keep the facility closed for another 10 days as a precautionary measure.
As MTR's instant packed food is readily available at most supermarkets, questions were raised around the safety of the items packed during the period the positive persons worked at the unit. The company responded by saying: "As stated by WHO, there is currently no evidence that people can catch COVID-19 from food or food packaging. Additionally, all our products are manufactured on automated lines without the involvement of any human touch."
MTR isn't the first factory that has seen a cluster outbreak of the novel coronavirus. The Jubilant Life Science Pharma company in Nanjangud in Mysuru also had more than 50 of its employees infected as well as the Jindla's JWS steel plant in Bellari district had more than 200 infected workers.
MTR has said it will resume operations after the weeklong lockdown in Bengaluru with a reduced capacity and will scale up operations gradually. It also said all its products would continue to be available in markets.