A PRINCES tinned food factory was closed for deep cleaning following an outbreak of coronavirus – raising concerns the virus is still spreading in cold, enclosed spaces.
Fourteen staff tested positive for Covid-19 from the workforce of 407 at its plant in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, forcing the 24-hour closure.
The plant produces canned and pouch products including baked beans, soups, pulses, pasta and vegetables and is the latest food processing factory to be hit by outbreaks in recent days.
A Princes spokesman said: “Our priority is the wellbeing and safety of our colleagues. We have been following government advice since the outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to do so.
“We can confirm 14 of our Wisbech-based colleagues have recently tested positive for coronavirus. The total number of colleagues at Wisbech is 407.
“As soon as these colleagues were symptomatic they were asked to self-isolate and contact the health authorities to be tested, and to be logged as part of track and trace efforts.
“A deep clean of the facilities these colleagues used was also conducted, alongside further stringent cleaning across the site.
“As an additional step, we took the responsible decision to temporarily close the whole site for 24 hours so a further deep clean could be completed. The site has now reopened.
“Throughout the period that COVID-19 has presented a risk, we have implemented social distancing measures and adapted our work environment in line with relevant guidance to minimise the chances of infection within the factory.
“All colleagues that are able to work from home are doing so and we have taken steps to ensure we have adequate supply of PPE for our colleagues.
“We remain in close contact with Public Health England and Fenland Council so they are fully informed of our approach and developments at the site.”
Public Health Wales has reported 200 confirmed Covid-19 cases at the 2 Sisters chicken processing plant, which employs 500 people in Llangefni on Anglesey.
Another 34 cases have been reported at Kepak in Merthyr Tydfil and 70 at Rowan Foods in Wrexham.