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COVID OUTBREAK: Another Jaguar Land Rover outbreak

COVID OUTBREAK: Another Jaguar Land Rover outbreak

Jaguar Land Rover’s factory in Halewood has suffered another outbreak of Covid-19 as cases continue to rise on Merseyside.

Three people from the same 10-person team are understood to have tested positive for the virus in the latest outbreak at the Halewood plant.

This is the latest in a series of outbreaks at the factory throughout the pandemic, including one in January that saw production “at a standstill”.

Like previous outbreaks at the Halewood plant, this one comes as cases surge throughout both Knowsley and the city region, and Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) has blamed increased transmission in the community for the positive cases at the factory.

But some workers have questioned the adequacy of JLR’s safety procedures in light of the repeated outbreaks.

JLR has said the safety of its employees is its primary concern and that the company is working closely with trade unions and public health officials to minimise transmission of the virus.

Previously, workers have claimed that they were told to turn off the NHS’ contact tracing app while at work and questions have been raised about testing at the site which allowed contacts of a confirmed Covid case to continue working if they produced negative lateral flow tests.

The testing regime prompted concerns from local MP Maria Eagle in January this year, who pointed to regulators rejecting a similar system for use in schools.

A spokesperson for JLR said: “Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic the health and safety of our employees has been our primary concern.

“Unfortunately, with increased transmission of the virus in the community due to new variants we have seen an increase in positive cases and self-isolations amongst our employees, reflecting the overall rise in the community.

“We are working closely with Public Health England and Unite, putting in extra measures to minimise the number of cases and keep our people safe. Face coverings and social distancing remain mandatory on site and we ask all employees to take part in lateral flow surveillance testing on site twice a week, as well as offering home testing kits.”

Meanwhile, Covid cases continue to double each week in Knowsley as the virus spreads through the younger, unvaccinated population.

Last week, there were more than 350 confirmed cases for every 100,000 people in the borough, putting Knowsley in the top 25 worst affected areas in the current wave.

 

Words: Chris McKeon, Local Democracy Reporter


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