Coronavirus: farmhands 'panic' near Foggia, harvest halted

Most are migrants 'now staying in their shacks'

03 April, 17:20

    Farmworkers in the Foggia area in southern Italy are panicking about the possibly of catching the novel coronavirus Farmworkers in the Foggia area in southern Italy are panicking about the possibly of catching the novel coronavirus

    FOGGIA - The provincial head of the ARCI association has said that many of the farmworkers in the Foggia area in southern Italy are panicking about the possibly of catching the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

    This, ARCI provincial chief Domenico Rizzi said, is creating a great deal of difficulty for the harvest of agricultural products in the area. ''Migrants constitute most of the manpower in the Foggia area,'' he said, ''and even they are afraid of the coronavirus.'' He noted that there was a large sense of responsibility about the non-european migrants living in Capitanata, an area of the Apulia region heavy in farming. ''The labourers have halted work and are staying in their shacks out of fear of catching COVID-19,'' Rizzi said. In addition, he noted, unseasonal freezing temperatures had in recent days ruined a large part of the harvest, such as potatoes and asparagus.

    Rizzi said that the migrants were demanding personal protection equipment and that distancing be ensured in the fields during working hours. ''Many of the foreigners are getting information to get both the 600-euro government bonus and municipal food vouchers,'' he added, ''and for the moment there are no known cases of COVID-19 among the migrants.'' ''To deal with this emergency,'' he said, ''we are trying to organise work teams and take all the precautions necessary.''

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