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Mini car factory in Oxford confirms nine workers test positive

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The Mini car factory in Cowley, Oxford have confirmed nine assembly line workers have tested positive for coronavirus.

BMW who own the production plant said they are “monitoring the situation” and a “wide range of practical modifications” are being monitored.

The Mini car factory remains open after holding “detailed” talks with Public Health England (PHE).

A UK BMW Group spokesman said, “Before restarting production we made a wide range of practical modifications and enhanced personal hygiene and cleaning routines, as well as giving clear instructions to everybody on site, in order to minimise the risk of transmission in the workplace as far as possible.

“These measures, which are fully in line with government health and safety guidance, are monitored on a daily basis in the best interests of our employees.”

Clare Humphreys, consultant in health protection at PHE South East said, “We are working closely with Mini Plant, the county council and NHS partners to provide public health advice and help stop the spread of the virus.

“Employers have been asked to take certain measures to help reduce the spread of Covid-19, including ensuring staff can maintain social distancing wherever possible and are able to regularly wash their hands for 20 seconds with soap and water, and cleaning frequently touched surfaces.”

It added: “However, if anyone does develop symptoms, which include a new continuous cough, high temperature or loss or change to their sense of taste or smell, they should self-isolate straight away.”

A Unite spokesperson said: “Risk assessments and strict health and safety protocols are in place at the Oxford plant and are under constant review by Unite.

“The health and safety of our members is Unite’s top priority and we are working with the company to ensure staff are protected.”

A spokesperson for Oxfordshire County Council said: “We are aware of the situation and are working with both BMW and Public Health England to ensure appropriate action is taken.

“While we’ve been pleased that cases continue to decline, this situation highlights that the pandemic is far from over.

“The occurrence of new cases in the county is something that we can prevent by continued vigilance, maintaining good hand hygiene, and observing appropriate social distancing. As a council, we are working with our local partners to ensure that as the lifting of lockdown continues, that they implement safe operating procedures.”

The plant who employs 4,500 staff closed in March due to the crisis and reopened on 18 May.




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