Sandwich factory that supplies M&S closes after 292 workers test positive for coronavirus

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A Northampton sandwich shop that supplies M&S has closed after 292 workers were reported to have contracted coronavirus.The Greencore factory in the city of the East Midlands has voluntarily closed its doors. The site employs 2,100 people.

Staff – and their households – will have to self-isolate for two weeks.

Last week, Public Health Northamptonshire confirmed it was helping the plant contain the outbreak.

The Department of Health said local test data and analysis from the Joint Biosecurity Center showed an increase in cases in the region was almost entirely due to the outbreak at the Northampton factory, reports The Mirror .

“The factory will close voluntarily from today and employees and their direct households will have to isolate themselves in their homes for two weeks.

“The Health Secretary will introduce regulations to ensure this period of self-isolation is legally enforced. Anyone who leaves solitary confinement before the end of the two week period without a reasonable excuse will be subject to fines, ”the department said.

The epidemic has enabled Northampton to become a “zone of intervention” due to the increase in infections.

While Birmingham has a coronavirus infection rate of 29.1 per 100,000 people, Northampton’s rate is much higher at 78.4 because it is a much smaller place.

In all response areas except Northampton, possibly because the outbreak is so localized, restrictions have been imposed, while Enhanced Support Zone Councils have received more support and units of mobile test have been sent.

The Department of Health said Health Secretary Matt Hancock would pass regulations “to ensure this period of self-isolation is legally enforced” and warned that anyone failing to follow the rules without a reasonable excuse could see imposing a fine.

Northamptonshire Director of Public Health Lucy Wightman told the BBC: “The factory will close voluntarily. ”

“Most employees and their direct households will have to isolate themselves at home for two weeks.”

Northampton’s incidence rate reached 125.1 per 100,000 population during the week ending August 13.

Ms Wightman said the current situation is “fragile” in the city of the East Midlands.

She said: ‘If we don’t continue to work together to reduce the transmission of the virus, there is a very real possibility that additional and stricter response measures and a possible local lockdown will follow. ”

A message sent to Greencore staff, and shared with the BBC, states that the company has “decided to put all colleagues working at the Northampton site (and who are not already self-isolated) over a 14-day period. ‘self-isolation’.

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