Over 350 people and their families have to move into isolation following the Norfolk poultry plant outbreak. 75 staff members of the plant have tested positive for COVID-19 on the same day, and it is now a completely chaotic situation.
In this context, Boris Johnson is expected to take more steps to control such outbreaks in the future. According to the reports of the local health officials, the cutting floor staff was immediately sent home. After the reports were out, the owners of the Banham Poultry Site shut down the place partially. The outbreak area lies 15 miles towards the south-west of Norwich.
According to the Prime Minister’s assurance in June, the authorities were actively working on the problem. He assured everyone that his team is taking up the responsibility of controlling meat plant outbreaks very seriously. However, last week the PM team was questioned about the progress. Unfortunately, no one was unable to present even any necessary report stating the scale of the problem. Before the Norfolk poultry plant outbreak, the Food Standards Agency boss reported that it was trying to detect all the factory outbreaks in England.
On the other hand, Dr. Collin Sullivan from the Food Manufacture Department, spoke about a limitation. He says that there is a prevalence of factory outbreaks. However, there is no specific data to support the fact.
The Norfolk poultry plant outbreak gives rise to doubts regarding safety plans
After the Norfolk poultry plant outbreak on Thursday, August 27, Jonathan Ashworth states his opinion. The shadow health secretary believes that such an episode is evidence enough against Boris Johnson. According to Ashworth, it is now clear that the test-and-tracing strategy of Johnson is useless. The health secretary also highlights that data details about the outbreak are necessary to run the test-and-tracing system. This includes details of the work environment. As a result, the detection of COVID-19 hotspots will become easier. Also, only then will it be possible for local authorities to shut down such places temporarily.
After the Banham incident, the county council of Norfolk unanimously decided to close down all operations. Besides, they believe that following the Norfolk Public Health and Public Health England guidelines is of utmost importance. Moreover, every positive patient has to stay in self-isolation for the upcoming ten days. Plus, the people who have tested negative must also quarantine for the next 14 days. Still, some parts of the Banham Plant are open for daily operations. However, the exact number of workers present in these units is not yet clear.
What may be the reasons for increasing outbreaks?
According to Dr. Louise Smith, Director of Public Health in Norfolk, the decision to temporarily close down operations was mandatory. It is also the best way to keep most people safe from infection and transmission. However, Dr. Smith highlights the fact that no one needs to worry about contamination from food items. Also, the risk of transmission amongst the general public is almost negligible in this case. The Norfolk poultry plant outbreak is the most recent in a string of similar incidents around England.
On the other hand, investigators have come across 1,454 positive cases within factory staff around England, Wales, and Scotland. Some issues have occurred in the last few weeks as well. The investigation to detect cases in Northern Ireland is still on. However, the problem is that the Irish authorities are unwilling to spill out any details.
After the whole incident, Boris Johnson says that he will look into the matter deeply in an interview. Moreover, Johnson states that he believes there are two probable reasons for the increase of such outbreaks. Firstly, the low temperature of food plants and factories may enhance the sustenance of the coronavirus. Secondly, the staff may not be adhering to proper safety guidelines leading to transmission. The Banham Poultry Plant is yet to issue any comment regarding the incident.