Greggs depot in Leeds forced to close over coronavirus outbreak as workers are struck down with killer bug
A GREGGS depot has been forced to shutdown after a coronavirus outbreak was confirmed on the premises.
The bakery chain's depot in Bramley, near Leeds,has seen around 20 staff members infected with the deadly virus – but it is feared the figure could rise.
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Roger Whiteside, CEO at Greggs, said the company are rolling out its Covid response plan are hoping to "minimise any possible impact" on its customers.
Leeds City Council confirmed the Greggs depot was closed and was deep cleaned to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The city has seen its infection rate rise this week from 17.9 to 20.4 per 100,000 people, according to the latest government figures.
The Greggs depot outbreak comes amid concern over coronavirus in workplaces which handle food,.
Hundreds of employees were forced to self-isolate after coronavirus was detected at a Banham Poultry factory in Norfolk.
Two Sisters Food processing plant in Coupar Angus, Perthshire saw 152 coronavirus cases linked to an outbreak.
And then nearly 300 workers were tested positive at Greencore's factory in Northampton that makes M&S sandwiches.
However, the government has assured its "very unlikely" you can catch the bug from food.
Labour MP Rachel Reeves said the Greggs depot will be inspected by a team from Environmental Health following the deep clean.
Leeds had been warned it could face a local lockdown after tougher restrictions were reintroduced for around five million people living in East Lancashire, Greater Manchester and parts of West Yorkshire.
Greggs boss Mr Whiteside said: "Following a number of our staff testing positive for Covid-19 at our Leeds distribution depot, we have taken immediate action to implement our Covid response plan.
"We are working closely with Leeds City Council and Public Health England to ensure that we minimise any possible impact on our customers and the wider community in Leeds and the surrounding area."
In a statement on the outbreak in her constituency, Ms Reeves said: "There has been an outbreak of Covid-19 related to the Greggs Distribution Centre in Bramley.
"The premises have now closed and will be deep-cleaned up to a Covid-19 safe standard and will then be inspected by Infection Control and Environmental Health.
"All the employees and visiting drivers are now undergoing testing."
Ms Reeves said she is awaiting confirmation from Greggs and the council that workers who are self-isolating will receive full pay.
Lucy Jackson, Leeds City Council's deputy director of Public Health, said: "A number of staff recently tested positive for Covid-19 at Greggs' distribution depot in Leeds.
"Following further testing, more staff have been identified as being positive. This highlights why further testing and contact tracing is so important which Greggs is proactively undertaking.
"The safety of Greggs staff, customers and the wider community remains our priority and we are working closely with Greggs and Public Health England to make sure any infection is contained.
"The workplace is being deep cleaned and further contact tracing carried out, with necessary advice shared about self-isolating and awareness of symptoms.
"This is a crucial part of controlling the spread of the virus and protecting our community from further infection.
"We are satisfied the necessary steps are being taken quickly to minimise any further spread of infection."
Ministers have been clear the government was step in to try and control any outbreak to keep Britain from returning to months of lockdown – with a watch list of risk locations.
Strict new rules continue to be rolled out and powers have been handed out to introduce tougher social distancing measures or reintroduce lockdowns.
Fears have surfaced of second nationwide coronavirus lockdown as officials warned the end of the year will be "bumpy" for Britain.
Despite the concerns however, the number of cases week-on-week fell for the first time in six weeks across England.
Elsewhere, Matt Hancock has today exposed a divide in the Cabinet after he said he was happy for his civil servants to keep working from home.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly urged Brits to head back to offices – and he specifically told Whitehall officials to get back to their desks in order to set an example.
But many of the UK's top firms say they don't have any plans to return all workers to offices anytime soon.
Fifty companies – from banks to retailers – were quizzed as part of an anonymous poll and 24 said they did not have any plans in place for employees to return.
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