Greencore shares tumble as coronavirus outbreak means Northampton faces lockdown

·2 min read
An outbreak of Covid-19 has been confirmed at a Greencore sandwich factory in Northampton: Google Maps
An outbreak of Covid-19 has been confirmed at a Greencore sandwich factory in Northampton: Google Maps

Greencore shares took a fresh tumble this morning after the sandwich maker saw an outbreak of coronavirus among employees at one of its manufacturing plants in the Midlands.

The Mark and Spencer sandwich maker has reported almost 300 staff from its site in Northampton are infected with the novel coronavirus.

The company took the decision to test workers as a result of a rise in cases in the town.

In a statement, Greencore said: “As a result of the rising number of Covid-19 cases in the Northampton area, we took the decision to start proactively testing all of the colleagues at our Northampton site.

“We can confirm that a number of colleagues have tested positive for the virus and are now self-isolating.

“We are liaising closely with PHE East Midlands, Northamptonshire County Council and Northampton Borough Council, who are fully supportive of the controls that we have on site.”

When the news broke yesterday afternoon Greencore shares fell 2.5%. Today they were down another 4% or 5p at 123p.

The outbreak means Northampton could face lockdown as local health chiefs have become increasingly worried about how quickly the virus spread.

Northampton is one of 29 places on Public Health England's watchlist. Leicester, Blackburn, Preston and Aberdeen are under strict rules, along with a wider area around Greater Manchester and Lancashire where rules are tighter than they are elsewhere in the country.

Greencore added that a range of social distancing measures, hygiene procedures and regular temperature checks are in place at the factory.

"We are doing everything that we can to keep our people safe," said Greencore.

It comes as 10 members of staff tested positive for the virus at fruit wholesalers Fyffes in Coventry.

A spokesman for Fyffes told Coventry Live: "The management of Fyffes Group Ltd is working closely with the Public Health team at Coventry City Council and Public Health England (PHE) Midlands, following a number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 among people working at our Coventry facility.

“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.”

Food factories have hosted an unusually high number of Covid-19 outbreaks around the world and experts say the cold, sunless environments, cramped working conditions and staff who are more likely to use public transport may be ideal for the virus to spread.

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