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Brazil prosecutors file suit to close BRF plant amid spread of COVID-19

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By Ana Mano

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - State prosecutors in Rio Grande do Sul filed a law suit to close two plants in Brazil's southernmost state for at least 15 days to contain the spread of the new coronavirus and protect factory workers, according to a statement on Monday.

Rio Grande do Sul state prosecutors are seeking court permission to temporarily close a meat processing facility operated by BRF SA in the town of Lajeado and another plant operated by a non-listed meat-packing company in the same municipality.

BRF did not have an immediate comment.

The lawsuit also requests that while work is suspended, the companies clean and decontaminate their industrial units, air cooling systems, vehicles and internal and external spaces.

A final ruling is still pending.

The requests to close the facilities, signed by Prosecutor Sérgio Diefenbach, marks another move to contain the spread of coronavirus at meat processing plants in Southern Brazil.

Health authorities in Rio Grande do Sul said last week the virus has spread to at least nine local meat processors, including another BRF plant in Marau and a JBS facility in the town of Passo Fundo.

Some 16,345 people working at the meat plants could have been exposed, health authorities said.

(Reporting by Ana Mano; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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