Impact of Covid-19 on processing plants continues
A number of meat processing sites across England have Wales have had their operations disrupted following outbreaks of coronavirus.
More than 150 employees at Kober Ltd’s Kirklees site, which produces bacon for supermarket Asda, have tested positive for coronavirus.
Asda has decided to voluntarily close the facility to ensure the safety of workers and to protect them from further infection.
In a statement released on Friday 19th June, the retailer said: “As soon as we became aware that some colleagues at our Kober site may have Covid-19, we responded swiftly and worked collaboratively with the local authority and Public Health England to test all colleagues.
“Colleagues who need to self-isolate will receive full pay and we aim to reopen the facilities earlier next week.”
“We have existing strict safety measures in place on the site, however as a precautionary measure we have voluntarily closed the site to protect colleagues and prevent any further transmission.
“Colleagues who need to self-isolate will receive full pay and we aim to reopen the facilities earlier next week. We’re grateful to the Kirklees Council and Public Health England for their support through this process.”
A further 38 workers have also tested positive for Covid-19 at Rowan Food’s site in Wrexham.
The company, run by Oscar Mayer, said it had made changes to its operations following the outbreak but said there was ‘no clear evidence to suggest that there is a spread of the virus within the site.’
It added: “As you would expect we have made significant operational changes at the site to maintain social distancing wherever practically possible, including various mitigations such as screens and visors where this is not always possible.
“All these changes have been made in conjunction with advice by the regional Environmental Health Officer. These measures have limited the impact on our teams.”
Consultant in health protection for Public Health Wales, Dr Christopher Johnson, said: “Public Health Wales has not declared an outbreak.
“We are working in close collaboration with the employer, the local authority, the Health Board and other partners, and our priority is to bring this cluster to a swift conclusion.
“We would remind all members of the public, including employees of Rowan Foods Ltd and their close contacts, that they have a vital role in preventing the spread of coronavirus, to help keep Wales safe.”
As previously reported, there had also been a cluster of Covid-19 cases reported at 2 Sisters Food Group’s Anglesey site, with the number of cases now at 158.
Dr Johnson confirmed that over 400 members of staff at the site had been tested, before saying: “As of 15:00 BST on Sunday 21st June we have recorded an increase of 83 confirmed positive cases identified over the past 24 hours.
“Testing of employees continues, and it is likely that some additional cases will be identified in the coming days.”