A factory has been closed with immediate effect as a result of a cluster of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases.
Management at the 2 Sisters food processing plant in Coupar Angus have agreed to the closure after three members of staff tested positive for the virus, with a further two workers awaiting results. In addition, there are two connected cases in the community.
Arrangements are being made for testing of employees. Close contacts are being advised to self-isolate and other identified contacts are being followed up and given appropriate advice.
An Incident Management Team (IMT) is working with Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and local environmental health teams to provide advice and support.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said, “Where clusters of cases develop we must find them and act quickly to prevent further spread.
“Public health teams in Tayside are responding quickly to this outbreak and we are liaising closely with them, Food Standards Scotland and Perth and Kinross Council to discuss all appropriate measures to contain this cluster.
“However, individuals who have been in this plant should be extra vigilant, ensure they follow all public health advice, and if they have any symptoms of COVID-19 should isolate and book a test on the NHS website.”
NHS Tayside Associate Director of Public Health Dr Emma Fletcher said, “NHS Tayside Public Health were alerted to the outbreak of COVID-19 associated with the 2 Sisters food processing plant yesterday. An Incident Management Team was convened and, working with the factory, measures were put in place to reduce the risk of further transmission of the virus.
“The people confirmed to have the infection and their close contacts in the community have been identified and advice provided. Further contact tracing within the factory setting is ongoing.
“Arrangements to provide testing for all factory workers are in process.”
Food Standards Scotland Chief Executive Geoff Ogle said, “There is currently no evidence that food is a source of coronavirus (COVID-19), and it is very unlikely COVID-19 can be transmitted through the consumption of food or food packaging.
“However as with other infections, good hygiene practices should be followed throughout every element of food preparation.”
People with any of the following symptoms should book a test at nhsinform.scot/test-and-protect or call 0800 028 2816 if they are unable to access the online service:
· a high temperature or fever
· a new continuous cough
· a loss of, or change in sense of smell or taste
The public is reminded to remember the FACTS guidance:
F – Face coverings. These should be used in shops and on public transport (buses, trains and taxis)
A – Avoid crowded places.
C – Clean your hands frequently, using water & soap whenever possible.
T – Two metres – observe physical distancing.
S – Self-isolate and book a test if you are suffering from COVID-19 symptoms.