HAMBURG (Reuters) – German authorities said they closed another abattoir after an outbreak of coronavirus among its workers.

The plant, in Dissen in north Germany, had already been on reduced operations slaughtering pigs after a previous discovery of coronavirus there, the local government authority of Osnabrueck said.

But it said 54 more workers at the plant were diagnosed with the COVID-19 respiratory disease in a second round of tests and the plant will now be closed for at least two weeks.

Labour Minister Hubertus Heil had said on Wednesday that Germany would tighten up rules on abattoirs, banning the subcontracting of meatpacking work through employment agencies after a rash of coronavirus outbreaks.

The new rules were agreed after more than 600 cases were reported of food and meatpacker workers contracting the disease.

German slaughterhouses and meatpackers make widespread use of east European contract workers and German politicians say that cramped sleeping accommodation and the practice of transporting workers in packed buses have helped spread the disease in some companies.

But some plants are reopening after tightening anti-coronavirus measures.

(Reporting by Michael Hogan, editing by)