More COVID-19 cases confirmed at Bernard Matthews site in Holton

18 new cases of COVID-19 have been identified at the Bernard Matthews food processing facility in Holton, near Halesworth, bringing the total number of positive cases to 36.

All affected members of staff are now self-isolating at home and are being supported by Bernard Matthews and public sector agencies.

123 members of staff have so far been tested or are due to be tested, with most returning negative results. Food production and safety is unaffected.

Bernard Matthews has had extensive controls in place to manage and reduce COVID-19 infections since March 2020. These are continuing and include regular temperature checks, staff working in bubbles, COVID marshals, masks and visors and social distancing throughout the site.

A spokesperson for Bernard Matthews said: “We are grateful for the help of all local agencies and we fully support their objectives to protect the local community. We believe a number of cases were initiated in the community, but nevertheless we will continue to enforce our robust COVID measures as we enter into our busiest period of the year.”

As was the situation with the 18 positive cases announced on Monday, most of these new cases live in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft areas. Everyone is therefore reminded of the importance of following government guidance around social distancing, washing hands and wearing face coverings.

Unite the union blamed “inadequate sick pay and worker bus fare rises” as contributing factors to the spread of the virus. 

A spokesman for Unite said the union had warned Ranjit Boparan, who bought Bernard Matthews in 2016, that “only paying statutory sick pay leaves low paid staff facing the stark choice of working while potentially infected or being unable to pay for food, rent or other bills.”

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