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VISAKHAPATNAM: More than 40 cashew processing units at Palasa in Srikakulam closed down on Thursday after two Covid-19 cases were reported in the area. The processing units closed down as a preventive measure to contain the spread of the virus as officials suspect that the people who have tested positive may have been in contact with over 200 people. 
Speaking to TOI, Malla Rameswara Rao, the president of an association of owners of processing units said that owners have voluntarily decided to close cashew processing units for seven days. Since over 4,000 people, most of them women, work in these cashew units, the virus could spread further if the units remained operational, he said. 

While 40 units closed on Thursday, a few more units are slated to close soon as public representatives have appealed to owners to shut down units temporarily to contain the spread of the virus, Rameswara Rao added. 
There are around 300 cashew processing units combined in Palasa and Kasibugga areas in Srikakulam. These processing units produce over 60,000kg cashew kernels per day. Cashew processing units were shut from March 23 to April 30 due to the lockdown. Most resumed operations in the first week of May. 
With increasing number of Covid-19 cases in Srikakulam district, owners of cashew processing units are once again shutting their units for the next 7 to 10 days. Officials said that Covid-19 cases in the district have gone past the 400 mark and 30-40 new cases are being reported every day after the return of migrant workers.

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