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2 Sisters closes Welsh plant due to Covid-19 staff outbreak

One of Wales’s largest poultry factories has closed its doors for up to a fortnight following an outbreak of Covid-19, which has affected at least 158 employees.

All 560 staff at the 2 Sisters meat processing plant in Llangefni, Anglesey, are self-isolating for 14 days after a number of workers were confirmed to have the virus on Thursday. Figures from Public Health Wales on Sunday showed that nearly half 400 staff tested had been confirmed as positive cases. Dr Christopher Johnson, of Public Health Wales, told the BBC that testing was continuing and that it was likely additional cases would be identified in the coming days. “The increase in cases is as we anticipated when a focused track and trace programme is implemented, and does not mean that the spread of infection is increasing.”

The increase in cases is as we anticipated when a focused track and trace programme is implemented, and does not mean that the spread of infection is increasing.”

One of the largest processors

2 Sisters is one of the largest food producers in the UK and processes about a third of all poultry products eaten each day. The plant supplies local authorities, hospitals, restaurants and small businesses. In a statement, 2 Sisters Food Group said the health and well-being of colleagues was paramount in its decision to suspend production at the plant for a fortnight. “Without our people we are nothing. Therefore, in light of the current Covid-19 cases at our Llangefni site, we have decided to take the necessary action to clearly demonstrate how seriously we take this issue by doing the right thing. “We will not tolerate any unnecessary risks – however small – for our existing loyal workforce at the facility.”

Many measures have been taken at processors, but they don’t stop Covid everywhere. Photo: Ruud Ploeg
Many measures have been taken at processors, but they don’t stop Covid everywhere. Photo: Ruud Ploeg

Poultry plants have been particularly hard hit in the Covid-19 pandemic with both the US and Brazil among a number of other countries forced to close plants due to employees testing positive. This is believed to be due to staff working in close proximity with each other indoors in low temperatures that are conducive to the spread of the virus.

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Meanwhile, China’s customs authority said at the weekend that it had suspended imports of poultry products from a plant owned by US-based meat processor Tyson that had been hit by Covid-19. The General Administration of Customs said it had decided to suspend imports after the company confirmed a cluster of coronavirus cases at facilities in Arkansas.