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Article

Spain: Migrant fruit pickers stranded as virus spreads

"In southern Spain, fruit pickers ditched as virus spreads," 3 August 2020

Dozens of...African workers have taken their mattresses and are sleeping in a square outside the town hall in Lepe, near the Portuguese border. “Our huts have been burnt down leaving more than 200 of us in the street”...

Known for its strawberries, Lepe...supplies a large part of the European market. Here, as in other agricultural areas, workers live in basic shelters without light or running water...from wooden pallets, plastic sheeting and mattresses...Despite the unsanitary conditions and impossibility of observing social distancing, no coronavirus tests have been carried out in the camps...

Even so, many have gone on to work in other areas of Spain, such as Lerida in the northeast where regional authorities reimposed a two-week lockdown in July after the emergence of a new outbreak linked to seasonal workers.

In mid-July, three shantytowns went up in flames around Lepe in a string of fires that began just after the picking season for strawberries, raspberries and blueberries ended...

“Before the harvest, they should have a PCR test but that costs the farmer a lot of money, so the government should help” by providing them, said Juan Jose Alvarez Alcalde, who heads the ASAJA farmworkers union.