Coronavirus outbreak at Bernard Matthews turkey plant after 75 workers test positive

‘Precautionary testing’ led to discovery of cases, council says

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 22 October 2020 18:51 BST
Seventy-five workers have tested positive at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Norfolk
Seventy-five workers have tested positive at a Bernard Matthews turkey plant in Norfolk (Google Maps)

More than 70 workers have tested positive for coronavirus in a new outbreak at a meat factory.

Scores of Covid-19 cases have been reported at turkey plant in Norfolk, the local council has said.

Seventy-five workers had tested positive at the Bernard Matthews site as of Thursday.

A similar number of cases were reported at a food processing facility belonging to the company in Suffolk earlier this month.

Norfolk County Council said “precautionary testing” led to the discovery of 75 positive cases at the turkey plant in Great Witchingham.

More than 600 staff were tested at the site from 15 October, the council said, adding the results of the final tests were still being processed.

“Results showed that the majority of positive cases so far worked on the afternoon shift at the site, leading Public Health to advise Bernard Matthews that the entire shift be instructed to self-isolate,” Norfolk County Council said.

In Suffolk, Bernard Matthews brought in Covid-19 bus marshals on its free staff transport as part of its response to the outbreak.

As of October 15 there had been 72 positive cases at Bernard Matthews' food processing facility in Holton near Halesworth, Suffolk County Council said.

Meat plants have seen coronavirus outbreaks globally since the start of the pandemic, such as in Germany and the US. 

More than 170 workers tested positive for Covid-19 at a meat processing plant in Cornwall several weeks ago. 

Back in June, a chicken plant in Wales temporarily shut in June after more than 150 employees tested positive, while a meat-packing plant in West Yorkshire dealt with a Covid-19 outbreak around the same time. 

Additional reporting by PA

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