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Coronavirus: Three workers flee quarantined Herefordshire farm where 74 tested positive

The Independent logo The Independent 13/07/2020 Peter Stubley
a person standing next to a fence © Provided by The Independent

Police are trying to trace three workers who escaped from quarantine at the Herefordshire farm hit by a coronavirus outbreak.

One of the missing people had tested positive for Covid-19 before leaving the site without permission, health officials said.

The three were part of the 200-strong workforce which was locked down at vegetable producer AS Green and Co in the village of Mathon, near Malvern, after at least 74 cases were confirmed.

West Mercia Police said it was working with Public Health England to find the missing worker with coronavirus.

Superintendent Sue Thomas, the force’s Herefordshire commander, said: “Within the constraints of the current legislation, we continue to support our partners in Public Health England and Herefordshire county council as they work with the farm owner and those working there to keep them all safe and to provide reassurance to the local community.

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“In relation to an individual who has left the site after testing positive with the virus, we are assisting our colleagues at Public Health England, as required, in order to trace them.”

Herefordshire Council said on Sunday that workers at the farm had been told to stay there during the quarantine period.

However on Monday the council’s director of public health, Karen Wright, confirmed that three had left.

“Workers who have left the premises have been asked to self-isolate,” she added. “We are working with West Mercia Police to ensure they are safe and well, and taking the appropriate public health advice.”

Ms Wright also said that the number of coronavirus cases in Herefordshire “otherwise remains very low” and added: “I would like to remind everybody that it is important to wash your hands, maintain social distancing and to wear a face covering to help protect others.”

Officials are treating the workforce as “one extended bubble” because they live in mobile homes on the farm during the harvesting season.

AS Green and Co, which supplies its produce to major UK supermarkets, said in a statement that “shoppers can remain confident buying British fruit and veg” despite the outbreak.


Video: Herefordshire farm in lockdown after 73 Covid-19 cases (PA Media)

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