An outbreak of coronavirus has happened at a farm in Herefordshire as 73 workers have tested positive for the virus.
The outbreak at the AS Green and Co farm has been detected in the living quarters during the harvest season, which has seen a total of 200 people being placed into self-isolation.
Tests have been carried out on all workers who have been showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Public Health England Midlands health protection director Katie Spence said in a statement, “A small number of workers became symptomatic earlier this week and they and a few close contacts among the workforce were tested initially and found to be positive.
“In line with NHS guidance, affected individuals were asked to self-isolate for seven days, with their households and close contacts asked to isolate for 14-days.
“As we have seen a global trend of large food producers being subject to outbreaks, as a precautionary measure, the decision was made to test the entire workforce.
“The initial batch of results showed a significant percentage of positive cases, despite these individuals being asymptomatic.”
A spokesperson for AS Green told the Hereford Times newspaper, “Our staff are our priority, they are hard-working key workers helping us provide food for the country during these unusual times.
“We contacted PHE and we are working closely with them and Public Health at Herefordshire Council to prevent the spread of Covid-19.”
A statement on the farms’ website said, “We confirm that we are working closely with, Public Health England and the Public Health team at Herefordshire Council to support a number of our workers that have tested positive for Covid-19.
“As a precautionary measure we have arranged for testing of additional key workers including management team members and visitors connected with AS Green and can confirm all results to date outside of our site have been returned with negative results.
“To date there are 73 positive cases on our site.
“Our site is currently closed for all visitors and with the assistance of the various bodies no workers are being permitted to leave our site and are receiving the required support at our site.
“Our work force and local community are our priority at this difficult time and we continue to follow the guidance of the relevant bodies to ensure that the spread of the virus is controlled and our workforce is supported.
“Public Health England advises that it is very unlikely Covid-19 can be transmitted through food or food packaging, so shoppers can remain confident buying British fruit and veg.
“Thank you for your understanding in these difficult times.”