Princes’ in Wisbech has closed after 14 staff members test positive for coronavirus

Eleven more staff members have tested positive for coronavirus at Princes' in Wisbech, bringing tota

Eleven more staff members have tested positive for coronavirus at Princes' in Wisbech, bringing total number of cases to 25. Picture: Ray Troll. - Credit: Archant

The Princes’ factory in Wisbech has closed for 24 hours to be deep cleaned after 14 staff members tested positive for coronavirus.

A spokesperson for the international food and drink group said: “Our first priority is the wellbeing and safety of our colleagues.

“We have been following government advice since the outbreak of COVID-19 and will continue to do so.

“We can confirm 14 of our Wisbech-based colleagues have recently tested positive for coronavirus. The total number of colleagues at Wisbech is 407.

“As soon as these colleagues were symptomatic they were asked to self-isolate and contact the health authorities to be tested, and to be logged as part of track and trace efforts.”

The spokesperson added: “A deep clean of the facilities these colleagues used was also conducted, alongside further stringent cleaning across the site.

“As an additional step, we have taken the responsible decision to temporarily close the whole site for 24 hours so a further deep clean can be completed.”

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Princes has two factories in the Fens, one in Wisbech and another in Long Sutton.

Both continued production throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and in April the company pledged to donate at least 500,000 products to affected communities.

The Princes spokesperson said: “Throughout the period that COVID-19 has presented a risk, we have implemented social distancing measures and adapted our work environment in line with relevant guidance to minimise the chances of infection within the factory.

“All colleagues that are able to work from home are doing so and we have taken steps to ensure we have adequate supply of PPE for our colleagues.

“We remain in close contact with Public Health England and Fenland Council so they are fully informed of our approach and developments at the site.”

The company’s 2019/20 annual report says it produces 1 billion cans of branded and customer own brand food a year.

Its range includes over 200 food and drink products such as fish, meat, fruit, sandwich fillings and fruit juices. The Long Sutton site is its largest food production site in the UK.