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Widespread Covid-19 testing called off at Holton Bernard Matthews site as no new positive coronavirus cases identified for over 10 days

Health officials say widespread Covid-19 testing is no longer needed at a Suffolk poultry factory, now that the number of new coronavirus cases has fallen 'significantly' in recent weeks.

Last month, extra measures were introduced at Bernard Matthews' food processing facility in Holton, near Halesworth, after dozens of staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

But now, Suffolk's director of public health said widespread testing at the factory has been called off after a combination of mass-testing of around 1,000 staff as well as a range of preventative work undertaken in the community and the business.

Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton, Suffolk (Gareth Fuller/PA)
Bernard Matthews turkey farm in Holton, Suffolk (Gareth Fuller/PA)

Across the Holton site, there have been 116 positive test results confirmed to date, and these employees have self-isolated at home.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk's director of public health, said: "We’ve worked very closely with Bernard Matthews and other agencies over the last month and I am pleased to see that the number of new, positive cases has reduced significantly during that time.

"Today we are at a point where there has not been a new positive case identified on site for over ten days."

Mr Keeble thanked the partner organisations who have worked together to manage the situation, and said they will continue to support Bernard Matthews to monitor any potential new cases in the future.

Rebecca Hams, consultant in health protection at Public Health England East, added: “Testing and rapid contact tracing is one of the best ways to help contain the spread of Covid-19 in such a setting.

"This can help identify those members of staff that have to self-isolate along with any of their close contacts, which in turn effects the cycle of transmission.

"We will work with our partners to monitor this situation and continue provide support.”

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