Nine confirmed coronavirus cases as chicken factory closes

One further person is awaiting the results of their test following an outbreak at the 2 Sisters site in Coupar Angus.

Nine confirmed coronavirus cases as chicken factory closes Getty Images
Covid-19: The fight to stop the spread of the deadly virus goes on.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases linked to a chicken factory in Perthshire has shot up to nine.

On Monday, the 2 Sisters processing plant in Coupar Angus suspended operations following a cluster of four positive Covid-19 cases.

NHS Tayside launched an investigation into the outbreak and later confirmed five others have tested positive, with another individual awaiting results.

The health board said arrangements are being made to test all employees, whilst close contacts are being advised to self-isolate.

An Incident Management Team (IMT) is working with Scottish Government, Public Health Scotland and local environmental health teams to provide advice and support. 

Geoff Ogle, Food Standards Scotland chief executive, said: “There is currently no evidence that food is a source of coronavirus, 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.”

A spokesman for the 2 Sisters site said a pause on production was the “responsible action to take”.

He added: “Our priority remains the safety and wellbeing of all colleagues, and we will be reviewing the situation closely in partnership with the relevant regional and national Scottish Covid-19 taskforces before we restart production.

“The facility had previously operated for six months without a single positive Covid-19 case recorded.”

Deputy first minister John Swinney said where clusters of cases develop, swift action must be taken to prevent further spread.

He said: “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.”

Swinney urged all those who have been at the factory to be “extra vigilant” and to follow public health advice.

Anyone showing symptoms of Covid-19 are being advised to self-isolate and book a test via the NHS website.

Dr Emma Fletcher, NHS Tayside associate director of public health, 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 being progressed.”