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‘No cause for panic’: communities react after coronavirus outbreak in factory

PUBLISHED: 12:15 25 August 2020 | UPDATED: 10:36 27 August 2020

Seven workers at Banham Poultry in Attleborough have tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: Denise Bradley

Seven workers at Banham Poultry in Attleborough have tested positive for coronavirus. Picture: Denise Bradley

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Residents have been told there is “no cause for panic” after an outbreak of coronavirus in a Norfolk meat processing factory.

Mid Norfolk Conservative MP George Freeman.  Photo: Uk ParlimentMid Norfolk Conservative MP George Freeman. Photo: Uk Parliment

Banham Poultry, in Attleborough, is carrying out more tests on factory workers today, after seven individuals were confirmed to have the virus.

With the infected in isolation and a test and track system in place, in an interview this morning, Norfolk public health director Louise Smith said she felt confident they had caught the virus outbreak in time.

MORE: Why are there so many coronavirus outbreaks at factories like Banham Poultry?

But mid-Norfolk MP George Freeman said surrounding communities must still remain vigilant.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health. Picture: Norfolk County CouncilDr Louise Smith, Norfolk's director of public health. Picture: Norfolk County Council

He said: “The news that seven workers have tested positive at Banham Poultry in Attleborough is no cause for panic - Norfolk’s public health teams and councils have dealt with the virus better than many areas.

“But it is a reminder that with cooler autumn weather looming we will all need to be vigilant - especially in workplaces with high densities of staff and customers at risk of chest infections - about reducing the risk of a second surge of Covid-19.”

Mayor of Attleborough Philip Leslie reminded residents to “keep to the rules” in a bid to protect the most vulnerable in the community.

He said: “I think any outbreak in an area so close to home is going to be concerning particularly for those residents at risk or isolating.

Banham Poultry at Attleborough which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: Denise BradleyBanham Poultry at Attleborough which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus. Picture: Denise Bradley

“We would just ask residents to be vigilant, keep to the rules, wear masks, keep social distancing and be careful with who you meet up with.

“I don’t think it is a cause for huge concern as the overall cases in Norfolk have been very low and Public Health England are activity engaged with Banham Poultry, who are operating to contain it with the track and trace.”

Karl Coan is manager at Breckland Tyre Services, a business located near the factory just off Station Road.

He said: “It is not nice to have it on your doorstep, it is slightly worrying. But from a business point of view, we feel safe because our procedures are very tight.

“I guess the thing with Covid is you don’t know who has it until you’ve had the results back, so it will be interesting to find out if it’s just a small amount of cases and whether or not they have got on top of it before it has spread.”

Margaret Connor, 60, is a staff member at Taylors Petfoods Natural Pet Store, also located close by. Despite being high risk herself, she said she did not feel concerned.

“Providing everybody does what they are meant to do, I suppose everybody else should be alright,” she said.

“I don’t feel too concerned myself and I am higher risk than most people. All of our customers are sensible, they all wear masks, we have screens and visors. I don’t see it as too much of a problem.”


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