Thursday 27 August 2020

75 staff test positive at chicken factory in Norfolk is latest of FORTY outbreaks at processing sites across UK

A huge chicken factory in Norfolk has been forced to close and 350 families have been put into isolation after 75 workers tested positive for coronavirus.

Banham Poultry in the village of Attleborough has voluntarily agreed to close its cutting room following an outbreak of the virus. 

The first case of Covid was reported last Friday, when one worker said they felt unwell. By Monday, seven out of 15 tested were found to have the virus. 

Almost 400 workers have now been tested, though officials claim that any potential geographical spread of the virus from Banham Poultry is low. 

The outbreak has however sparked fears that Norfolk will be plunged back into a local lockdown - with the county the subject of a central government review later today. 

It comes amid a crisis in Britain's food processing plants, after the head of the Food Standards Authority admitted there are at least 40 active outbreaks at sites across England. 

Dr Colin Sullivan admitted the figures are not comprehensive, and may be higher, but said: 'The number that I mentioned, was one we are content to make public. It is a small number of a big total.'

In recent days, Greencore, which manufactures own-label sandwiches for Marks & Spencer, announced a temporary closure of its Northampton plant. This came amid an increase in community transmission in the area and after 292 staff tested positive for the virus earlier in the week.
Other major food producers, such as Cranswick and 2 Sisters Food Group, have also closed plants following a surge in cases among staff.  

Experts have suggested the cold conditions inside the plants may be conducive to the spread of the virus.


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