M&S sandwich factory shut down in Northampton in fresh lockdown as Birmingham added to watch list
A MARKS and Spencer sandwich factory has been forced to close after nearly 300 staff tested positive.
Birmingham has also officially been added to the coronavirus watch list after a surge in cases – mostly in young people.
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The sandwich factory has been forced to close[/caption]
Cases in Birmingham have risen dramatically [/caption]
The Greencore factory, the UK’s largest maker of pre-packed sandwiches, will close from today and all employees and their direct households will have to isolate at home for two weeks.
The company took the decision to proactively test its 2,100 workers as a result of a rise in cases in the town – and 292 tested positive.
Legal restrictions will be brought in by the Health Secretary today to make sure the self-isolation period is enforced.
The Department for Health said anyone who leaves isolation before to the two-week period ending without a reasonable excuse will be subject to fines.
The local infection rate in Northampton hit 125.1 per 100,000 last week.
It was also confirmed this lunchtime:
- Oldham residents will be told not to socialise with ANYONE outside their home to try and stop the spread of the virus
- A Northampton factory has been ordered to shut and everyone forced to isolate after a huge number of cases emerged
- Wigan, Rossendale and Darwen are to be released from the new rules
- In future MPs and local politicians will decide the boundaries for local lockdowns, not politicians in Whitehall – meaning areas with low cases will likely be exempt
The rate of new infections in Birmingham has reached 30.2 cases per 100,000 and the percentage of people testing positive up to 4.3%.
Officials don’t know where the spike in cases has come from, so are sending in health teams to try and find the source.
Birmingham’s director of public health, Dr Justin Varney issued a warning yesterday, saying: “What we do in the next seven days will decide if we go into lockdown or not.
“If we do it will be for at least two or three weeks, and that will be devastating.”
Over half of the new cases in the last week have been between 18-34 years old, as fears grow of young people not taking social distancing seriously.
Last weekend, shocking footage showed more than 200 people piling into an illegal rave in a backyard in Birmingham.
Police have released a heat-seeking camera revealing the size of the illegal party [/caption]
Party organiser and home owner Charlene Proham, 27, was given a £100 fine on Tuesday.
West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said on Twitter: “Birmingham is in an extremely challenging COVID situation, and as expected the city has been added to the Government’s watchlist this afternoon.
“From handwashing and social distancing to wearing face coverings and avoiding mass gatherings, every individual must play their part.”
That means extra resources will be sent into these areas to boost testing and residents will see extra reminders of the importance of social distancing and hand hygiene.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said today: “To prevent a second peak and keep Covid-19 under control, we need robust, targeted intervention where we see a spike in cases.
“The only way we can keep on top of this deadly virus is through decisive action led by the people who know their areas best, wherever possible through consensus with a local area.”
Full list of places with ban on indoor gatherings
- City of Manchester
- Parts of Blackburn with Darwen
- West Yorkshire:
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