Covid-19 outbreak at sandwich firm

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Greencore started testing workers as a result of a recent increase in coronavirus cases in Northampton

Workers at a sandwich factory have been forced to self-isolate following an outbreak of coronavirus.

Greencore in Northampton started “proactively testing” workers after a recent increase in cases in the town.

A spokesman said that a number of people at the company, which employs 2,100 people, had tested positive.

Lucy Wightman, Director of Public Health at Northamptonshire County Council, said the authority was working with Greencore following the outbreak.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Northampton increased from 67 in the week ending 1 August up to 85 for the week ending 8 August.

The Greencore spokesman said the company had started testing staff “as a result of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Northampton area”.

He added: “In each case we have immediately conducted contact tracing and instructed potentially affected colleagues to self-isolate.”

One of those to test positive is the Bakers’ Union’s branch secretary for Greencore Northampton, Nicolae Macari.

Mr Macari said he tested positive on 4 August, along with his mother and father – who also work at Greencore – and his wife.

“When suddenly three or four people are pulled out of a line because they have tested positive, people are terrified,” he said.

“Making sandwiches seems to be much more important than everything else.”

‘Possible local lockdown’

Mrs Wightman said Greencore had “highly effective measures in place and they continue to work extremely hard to exceed the requirements needed to be Covid-19 secure within the workplace”.

She said the outbreak was “about how people behave outside of Greencore, not at work,” adding if people fail to follow the rules “a possible local lockdown will follow”.

Greencore, which makes sandwiches for M&S, said production at the plant was “continuing as usual” and it has no concerns about its products.

It employs 2,100 people in Northampton, with 1,600 of those involved in the sandwich production process.

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