Outbreaks of COVID-19 Among Firms in Europe

Michael Bird, Vlad Odobescu, Lina Verschwele, Cecilia Ferrara, Razvan Zamfira | 20 November 2020

This dashboard collects the outbreaks of COVID-19 at firms and businesses, particularly in the industrial sector in Europe, in 2020

The data shows which sectors were most sensitive to viral outbreaks, in which locations, and during which months.

The information comes from news reports and, where possible, health bodies responsible for collecting this information.

We have also approached the relevant authorities in every European country, to ask for further data.

What this data reveals

The sectors most hit by Covid-19 are meat factories, which include slaughterhouses, and  food processing plants, especially those in cold conditions, such as dessert and sandwich factories, and those for collecting frozen food.

In addition, textile factories were hit strongly, as well as farms during harvest time.

Mobile workers were stricken with COVID-19, with Romanians, for example, employed at 24 of the 28 reported outbreaks in businesses in the UK.

Hotbeds of infection occurred in key industrial zones, such as the Midlands in the UK, south Transylvania in Romania, north Italy, and North Rhine-Westphalia in Germany, and its border with the Netherlands.

This reveals that COVID-19 hit facilities that were large-scale, labour intensive, crowded, and cold, and in the proximity of other factories, which could mean a degree of cross-contamination between sites

What we could not find

As part of this research, we have not included hospitals or care homes, or state institutions, such as army barracks, or cruise liners.

We are aware that this will not give a comprehensive picture of every outbreak in the continent. This is because we are dependent on the media and, to a certain extent, self-reporting by the businesses in question. 

The information available varies from country to country, and from region to region. We also recognise that we are likely to have a greater insight into countries where our staff are based, or in their spoken languages. 

This is a growing, participatory project, and we invite anyone to inform us of further information that could help us. Please send an email to razvan@interrobang.ro or fill in the form in the map above.