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Hunt for 300 workers after Covid outbreak at food factory that supplies Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda

Public health bosses are desperately trying to track down 300 workers after 166 colleagues tested positive for Covid-19 at a food processing site that supplies Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda.

More than 1,000 people work at Rowan Foods in Wrexham, which has seen an outbreak of coronavirus among staff, more than three months after a walkout over concerns there was a lack of protection for workers.  

In a statement today, Public Health Wales said: ‘We are working with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board to urgently contact just over 300 workers that have not yet presented for testing.

Workers at Rowan Foods in Wrexham protested over a lack of proper protection amid the coronavirus lockdown in April. Now an outbreak has seen 166 workers diagnosed with Covid-19

Workers at Rowan Foods in Wrexham protested over a lack of proper protection amid the coronavirus lockdown in April. Now an outbreak has seen 166 workers diagnosed with Covid-19

Workers at Rowan Foods in Wrexham protested over a lack of proper protection amid the coronavirus lockdown in April. Now an outbreak has seen 166 workers diagnosed with Covid-19

‘As we would expect with any focused track and trace process, we will identify additional asymptomatic cases. Finding these cases does not mean that the rate of infection in the Wrexham area is increasing as a whole.

‘There is no evidence that Rowan Foods is the source of the outbreak.

The multi-agency team managing the outbreak with Public Health Wales will continue to review the situation and work with the employer, their workforce and wider community to bring this outbreak to a swift conclusion.’

The Wrexham site first hit the headlines in relation to coronavirus earlier this year, when workers walked out in April in an apparent protest over what they felt was a lack of protection from the virus.

Unite claimed the company did not deal with health and safety concerns urgently, after negotiations over sick pay broke down.

Rowan Foods told the BBC:  ‘We have been proactively introducing new operational changes at the site for some months now, since the issuing of government guidance for the food industry in March 2020, to ensure that we maintain social distancing wherever practically possible, and have also included new mitigations such as screens and visors.’

The firm supplies major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Asda. 

Nearly a third of Rowan Foods 1,000 staff have not been tested for Covid-19 after an outbreak

Nearly a third of Rowan Foods 1,000 staff have not been tested for Covid-19 after an outbreak

Nearly a third of Rowan Foods 1,000 staff have not been tested for Covid-19 after an outbreak

The Rowan Foods outbreak and the cluster of cases around the Anglesey 2 Sisters abattoir have so far accounted for more than 300 infections.

There have been claims that the island of Anglesey, home to 70,000 people, could be placed under lockdown to contain the outbreak at the 2 Sisters chicken factory.

Another 34 cases were reported at Kepak in Merthyr Tydfil

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