Small number of new coronavirus cases at Alconbury firms but “no longer an outbreak” says PHE

Coronavirus outbreak hits Alconbury firms AM Fresh UK and MM Flowers. Picture: Archant

Coronavirus outbreak hits Alconbury firms AM Fresh UK and MM Flowers. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

The discovery of coronavirus at businesses employing nearly 1,000 people at a site near Huntingdon is no longer being treated as an outbreak, the firm has said.

Testing of 876 employees at twin firms AM FRESH UK and MM Flowers, based at Alconbury Weald, showed just nine new asymptomatic cases of Covid-19.

Workers who tested positive for the illness, during a major check of all employees between July 24-28, are now isolating in line with government guidelines.

The firm said it would remain “vigilant” to protect staff and customers.

Full tests were carried out after 35 cases of coronavirus were found at the twin businesses, which provide fruit and flowers to the top supermarket chains, with 26 coming to light in recent weeks.

A spokesman for the firm said: “The testing of 876 colleagues has resulted in just nine new asymptomatic Covid-19 cases being identified and those people are now isolating in accordance with government guidance.

“The site has been able to continue its operations throughout this time and Public Health England (PHE) has now advised the companies that they no longer consider this to be an outbreak.”

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The spokesman said the firms had been working closely with PHE and local councils to ensure the safety of their staff and the continued operation supplying citrus, grapes and flowers to UK supermarkets since the discovery of a “small increase” in positive Covid-19 tests in early July.

“Since the onset of Covid-19, AM FRESH UK and MM Flowers have put the safety and wellbeing of their teams at the centre of operations,” the spokesman said.

“Both companies have adapted their processes in accordance with all government guidelines to create a Covid-19 secure site. Measures include social distancing, extensive hygiene practices - deep cleaning of high touch and high traffic areas including the packing facilities of both businesses - one-way systems, staggered shifts, Perspex screens and face coverings as further mitigation against the risk of transmission.”

The spokesman added: “AM FRESH UK and MM Flowers will continue to monitor the situation closely and maintain their extensive hygiene practices.

“They will also make any necessary adjustments to working practices if and when PHE and government guidance evolves. Both companies continue to be vigilant given the ongoing presence of Covid-19 in our communities.”

A spokesman for PHE conformed that the incident was no longer being treated as an outbreak.