Over 100 Kepak workers in Cornwall test positive for Covid-19

Council says up to 85% of positive cases at meat processing plant are asymptomatic

More than 100 workers have tested positive for Covid-19 at Kepak’s meat processing facility in Cornwall, England. The Irish meat processing group acquired the site at Bodmin as part of its takeover of the red meat operations of UK food group 2 Sisters in 2018.

According to a statement from Cornwall Council, the 106 affected employees at the Bodmin plant are now self-isolating. It follows testing of some 271 staff over the past week, after a small number initially reported positive tests.

Of the 106 positive cases, roughly 80-85 per cent were asymptomatic, the council said, adding that testing is continuing at the site and figures may be subject to change.

"Outbreaks such as this are always tough for everyone involved, but we have worked with Kepak and our health service partners in taking quick and robust action to help stop the virus spreading," said Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council's director of public health.


Advice and support

A spokesperson for Kepak Group said that the company is providing advice and support to any staff member who needs to self-isolate, due to either a positive result or being a close contact of a confirmed case.

“We are working closely with the public health case review team to ensure that all contacts are identified.The group is working tirelessly to protect its staff as well as ensuring the continuity of secure food supply during this pandemic.All staff members returning to work are following the company’s Covid-19 return to work guidelines.”

Meat and food processing plants across the world have been particularly vulnerable to the spread of Covid-19. During the summer, large outbreaks of the virus in food processing plants contributed to the decision to introduce local lockdowns in Kildare, Laois, and Offaly.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times