Coventry COVID outbreak: Nearly 200 banana packers to be tested after staff contract virus

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    Bosses at Fyffes Group Ltd in Coventry have taken drastic action in a bid to quell an outbreak of the potentially deadly virus. All 186 staff will undergo testing as a “precaution”, Coventry City Council said. Social distancing measures at the plant will also be stepped up.

    Fyffes is the biggest supplier of bananas in Europe.

    Liz Gaulton, director of Public Health at the council, said the authority is satisfied for the site to remain in operation, despite the outbreak.

    She said: “Fyffes have been open and cooperative with us and have followed our advice and guidance in how to deal with this unfortunate situation.

    “We have advised that all 186 staff at the centre are tested as a precaution and the measures that have been implemented mean we are happy for the business to continue to open as normal at this time.”

    She went on to issue a warning about fresh outbreaks as the country returns to a new normal.

    She added: “Incidents like this show that the fight against COVID-19 is not over and that we all have a role to play in preventing the spread of the virus.

    “No one can be complacent.

    READ MORE: Coronavirus map LIVE: Boris issues warning for Britons in France

    It also deals in the trade of pineapples and melons.

    The company employs more than 6,000 people worldwide.

    Fyffes is working closely with public health officials at the city council, Public Health England (PHE) Midlands and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) to contain it.

    A spokesman for Fyffes said it was operating a safety-first policy.

    He said: “The safety of all our workers is our number one priority and a number of actions to tackle this outbreak have been agreed and are currently being implemented.”

    Dr Mamoona Tahir, from Public Health England Midlands, said: “Despite putting a range of infection control measures in place to protect staff from potential exposure to COVID-19, there have been a number of cases among workers.

    “We are therefore liaising with management, the local authority and the Health and Safety Executive to advise on increased social distancing measures.”

    The outbreak in Coventry comes as Britons holidaying in France are bracing for possible quarantine measures upon arrival back in the UK.

    Boris Johnson said a review of the rules for France, which has seen a surge in cases, will be undertaken tonight.



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