1,000 Bernard Matthews staff to be tested for coronavirus in Norfolk

Staff at the Norfolk site are being tested as a 'precautionary' measure Credit: ITV News Anglia

1000 members of staff will be tested for Covid-19 at Bernard Matthews' factory in Norfolk.

The company says it's a 'precautionary' measure after a number of workers tested positive for the virus at the plant in Great Witchingham.

Norfolk's Director of Public Health says there's no evidence to suggest the outbreak is widespread:

While there is currently no evidence to suggest widespread transmission at the site, we know that testing can help to understand and contain the spread of the virus. We would remind everyone across Norfolk, to continue to act responsibly, respect the Rule of Six and follow the government’s guidance. We must all continue to wash our hands, wear face coverings and observe social distancing.

Dr Louise Smith, Norfolk’s Director of Public Health,
Several workers had previously tested positive for coronavirus as the Great Witchingham factory near Norwich Credit: ITV News Anglia

Those who test positive will have to self-isolate, along with their households.

We can confirm a small number of positive cases at our site at Great Witchingham. These colleagues and their contacts are now self-isolating at home, and we will continue to work closely with public health officials to monitor the situation. There is no evidence these transmissions occurred in the factory. Food production and safety remain unaffected.

Spokesman for Bernard Matthews

The same amount of people are also being tested at the company's Holton site in Suffolk after they had 72 confirmed cases.

1000 members of staff have also been tested at the Bernard Matthews site in Holton Credit: ITV News Anglia

13 employees from the Suffolk turkey-processing plant are currently self-isolating at home.

The testing follows the introduction of additional precautionary measures put in place to control further outbreak. This includes new entrances to facilitate a one-way system, staggered staff breaks, and a free staff transport system.

We’re working very closely with Bernard Matthews and other agencies to put in place all possible measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, identify those affected and therefore protect staff and the public.  Everyone must remain alert and keep following the social distancing, hand washing and mask wearing advice. Together, we will be able to stop the spread of COVID-19.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s Director of public health
Other measures have also been put in place to prevent further spread of the virus at the factory Credit: ITV News Anglia

It's hoped the mass testing will identify if there are any asymptomatic staff who are currently showing no signs of coronavirus, and to prevent the spread of the virus into the wider community.