Army is called in to test 900 workers at Scottish chicken factory

Army is called in to test 900 workers at Scottish chicken factory after 15 staff catch Covid – as Nicola Sturgeon refuses to rule out local lockdown

  • Factory closed and staff sent home on Monday after outbreak was discovered
  • Number of infected is now 17 with 15 staff members and 2 members of the public
  • Nicola Sturgeon hasn’t ruled out local lockdown if outbreak can’t be contained
  • The 900-strong team of factory workers has been told to self-isolate and the factory will remain closed until the end of the month while track and trace set up

Soldiers have set up a mobile unit to test 900 workers at the chicken factory where 17 people have now been confirmed as suffering COVID-19.

The figure includes 15 staff at the 2 Sisters plant, in Perthshire, as well as two members of the community and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the incident as a ‘complex and potentially significant cluster’.

She described the situation as a ‘complex and potentially significant cluster’ and said she could not rule out imposing a local lockdown.

The testing site, in a marquee in the grounds, was put in place to check all the factory’s employees.

The outbreak was started by a manager at the George Street plant, who contracted the virus from a close relative.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the incident as a ‘complex and potentially significant cluster’ after an outbreak of cornavirus at a 2 Sisters factory in Coupar Angus, Scotland

The factory was closed on Monday morning and is expected to remain shut for some time. Workers have been told to stay at home and self-isolate until August 31.

At her daily briefing yesterday, when the total number of confirmed cases was still nine, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I will be very surprised – albeit pleasantly – if we don’t see that number rise in the days ahead.

‘Seven of the cases so far are employees of the factory and two are people in the wider community. Contact tracing is ongoing.’

She said: ‘This is a complex and potentially significant cluster.

‘In addition to the over-riding public health concern relating to the outbreak, the closure of the plant potentially, of course, has an economic impact.

‘We also need to consider possible animal welfare issues. The animals which would have been sent to the factory in the next few days can’t currently be sent there, so for all of these reasons we are monitoring all aspects of this situation very carefully and closely.’

Asked if the case could lead to a local lockdown, Ms Sturgeon said: ‘I’m going to be very cautious about speculating here. We don’t rule anything out whenever we’re faced with clusters.

‘If we can’t keep a cluster under control purely through test-and-protect then additional measures always have to be possible.’

2 Sisters has been contacted for comment by the Mail Online. 

A spokesman earlier this week said: ‘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.’

NHS Tayside Public Health was first alerted to the outbreak on Sunday. 

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