Coronavirus outbreak in UK pork factory after staff ‘asked not to wear masks’

Pork factory workers say they are "dropping like flies" after being told not to wear face masks with ten coronavirus cases so far.

Employees at the Karro Food Group pork processing plant in Scunthorpe have blasted its safety measures following a spate of cases last week.

One, who wished to remain anonymous, told Scunthorpe Live : "Staff are dropping like flies and being sent home. There's around ten confirmed cases now.

"We have plastic screens up but that's about it. Staff have been trying to wear masks on the factory floor but been told to remove them or leave.

"Apparently face masks are classed as food hazards, but hair nets and snoods aren't.

"People are getting texts from Test and Trace now, telling them to get a test as they've been somewhere where people have tested positive.

"The factory has worked all through lockdown and now people are going off with the virus, they still refuse to close. It is putting not only their staff at risk but their families too."

Another employee at the Foxhills factory said: "People have been sent home when they were told that people close to them have been diagnosed with coronavirus.

"What they are doing to staff is unfair. On Friday, everyone was wearing masks on the floor – but that was the first time in nine months.

"A friend of mine wore a mask at one point, and was told he wasn't allowed – he needed to remove it or go home."

A former employee who is still close with many people who work there said: "A lot of staff are very worried at it is constantly being played down. They have heard there are at least ten cases now."

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The company has admitted a number of workers have been diagnosed with Covid-19 but insists it is following all government guidelines.

It said the cases were caught through "community contact".

The Karro Food Group, based in North Yorkshire, is one of the country's largest food processors. Along with Young's Seafood, it is owned by the Eight Fifty Group.

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The Scunthorpe plant is a dedicated bacon and gammon slicing facility.

North Lincolnshire has seen an increase in coronavirus cases over recent weeks, with public health officials warning people to take care both at work and home.

Earlier this year, Karro advertised for more than 100 roles in Scunthorpe to meet the demand from supermarkets during lockdown.

A Karro Food Limited spokesperson said: "We have a small number of unrelated Covid-19 cases which are as a result of community contact. The workers and close contacts are now self-isolating at home.

"We are continuing to follow government guidelines and doing everything possible to protect our people."

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