Banham Poultry partially closes factory as 80 coronavirus cases confirmed
PUBLISHED: 17:41 27 August 2020 | UPDATED: 17:41 27 August 2020
The Banham Poultry factory that has seen a coronavirus outbreak has been partially closed with 350 workers told to self-isolate.
A total of 80 people have now tested positive for Covid-19 at the meat plant in Attleborough out of 376 tests done.
Banham Poultry has voluntarily agreed to close part of the site following advice from Public Health England and Norfolk Public Health.
All 350 staff who work in the cutting room area of the factory have been asked to isolate with their households.
Those who have tested positive will be asked to isolate for 10 days. Those who have tested negative will be asked to isolate for 14 days.
MORE: Why are there so many coronavirus outbreaks at factories like Banham Poultry?
Dr Louise Smith, director of public health for Norfolk, said: “This action has been taken because we believe it is the most effective way to protect the wider public from further transmission. We have carefully assessed the various levels of risk to come to this decision.
“This has been an incredibly tough decision for Banham Poultry, whose management team has worked tirelessly to make arrangements for this partial closure, balancing the protection of the public, their staff and their business.
“I’d also like to thank them for their significant endeavours in assisting us with contact tracing.”
The area of the factory affected is to undergo a deep clean.
Employees who work in other areas of the plant will be able to continue working and the factory will remain open.
The outbreak has been classed as “nationally significant” and the case is being reviewed by the government’s chief medical officer.
Bosses from the factory, owned by Chesterfield Poultry, met with leaders from Norfolk County Council, Breckland Council and other local authorities from across Norfolk on Thursday to discuss how they will help workers, many of whom live in houses of multiple occupancy, are self-isolating.
MORE: Coronavirus cases rise in Breckland and Great Yarmouth after Banham Poultry outbreak
The plant is located near the centre of Attleborough, adjacent to the town’s railway station. As well as employees from the surrounding area, many of the workers also live in Norwich and Great Yarmouth.
Sam Chapman-Allen, leader of Breckland Council, said the infection rate across Norfolk and Breckland was being “constantly monitored”.
“We have taken appropriate steps,” he said. “We will continue to review the evidence across Breckland. Norfolk and the wider region at the time will take appropriate action.”
Dr Smith added: “At this stage in our investigation these cases of infection are in staff who work in Banham Poultry and their households. There is no evidence of increased risk to the general public. The risk of infection from food products is very low.”
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