Coronavirus outbreak at Northampton Greencore sees site temporarily close

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Northampton-based sandwich factory Greencore has temporarily closed down as a safety precaution after almost 300 employees testing positive for coronavirus.

After consulting with the government, the food manufacturer said production will be picked up from other Greencore sites while over 2,000 workers self-isolate.

Last week, a total of 292 people tested positive for covid-19, 213 of the results came back through the factory’s private testing while 79 were confirmed through the NHS.

The food distributor has ordered all staff to self-isolate for two weeks and continue “proactively testing” following the increase.

A statement released by Greencore said: “Greencore can confirm that, in consultation with the Department of Health & Social Care, Public Health England and other government bodies, it has taken the decision to temporarily cease production at its Northampton facility from the end of today as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak in the Northampton area and at the site,” a Greencore spokesperson said.

“This decision will allow all remaining colleagues at the site to self-isolate as a precautionary measure, and has been taken as part of the region’s ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of the virus and keep our colleagues safe.

“We have been in constant contact with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council and other government bodies, who have been hugely understanding and supportive of our response.

“We will continue to work closely with them in order to bring the site back safely into production as soon as possible, as colleagues who are self-isolating begin to return.”

Greencore noted that they have remained in “constant contact” with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council, Northampton Borough Council since the outbreak.
Northampton may the latest area in England to enter a second lockdown, which has already been identified as a “hot spot” area.

Earlier today, Pendle, Oldham and Blackburn residents were the latest towns told that households will not be allowed to socialise from Saturday, 22nd August.

Lucy Wightman, director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, said the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the town increased from 67 in the week ending 1 August up to 85 for the week ending 8 August.

The Northampton Greencore factory is one of several UK food producers to have been hit by coronavirus clusters in recent weeks.

The Scottish Government has ordered anyone living in a household with a factory worker including children must self-isolate for 14 days.

Poultry manufacturer 2 Sisters announced today workers at their Coupar Angus site in Scotland will be shut until Monday, 31st August due to 43 positive cases.

Dessert factory Baakavor in Newark reported 72 of their workers having the virus, while nine people at dairy producer Arla Foods in Settle, Yorkshire, had positive results.

Global fruit distribution centre Fyffes Group Limited confirmed an outbreak of coronavirus after 10 staff members were confirmed to have coronavirus.

All 186 workers at the Coventry-based site at Cross Point Business Park site are now being tested as a precaution.