Coronavirus: Grantown abattoir shuts after rise in cases

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image captionThe owners of Millers of Speyside took the decision to close the factory for 14 days

An abattoir in the Highlands has been shut down after an increase in cases in a Covid-19 cluster.

Twenty-nine of the 31 cases in the Grantown on Spey area are linked to the town's Millers of Speyside meat processing factory.

A nursery in Boat of Garten has closed and visiting to local care homes has also been suspended due to the rise from five cases earlier in the week.

NHS Highland said its health protection team was carrying out contact tracing.

Highland Council has offered support to people who are having to self-isolate.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said an investigation was ongoing to find any "themes" to the outbreak and whether any additional measures were required to tackle it.

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NHS Highland said the owners of Millers of Speyside had taken the decision to shut for two weeks, and were assisting in an investigation of the outbreak.

Highland Council said Deshars Primary's nursery was closed until 8 September on the advice of NHS Highland's public health team as part of its test and protect investigation. The primary school remains open.

A council spokeswoman said: "All Highland Council educational settings are following rigorous controls including enhanced cleaning, and hand hygiene, and the wearing of face coverings in secondary schools in corridors and at break-out times."

'Following-up contacts'

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image captionThe cluster in the Grantown on Spey area has increased from five earlier this week

NHS Highland said there was currently no evidence that food was a source of Covid-19, and it was "very unlikely" it could be transmitted through the consumption of food.

Dr Tim Allison, director of public health at NHS Highland, said: "NHS Highland and partners are working together to manage this community outbreak.

"Our health protection team is following up with contacts and the appropriate advice is being given to those identified.

"We would also like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that the virus can recur even in rural communities and so everyone should continue to adhere to physical distancing guidelines, wear a face-covering when in enclosed spaces, clean your hands and surfaces regularly and immediately self-isolate if you develop symptoms."

'Speedy recovery'

Sandy Milne, managing director at Millers of Speyside said the company had "worked tirelessly" through the pandemic to ensure continued food production.

He said: "To prevent further spread of the virus among both our employees and the local community, we have opted to close our facility for 14 days."

Alan Clarke, chief executive at Quality Meat Scotland, said the red meat industry had taken precautions to tackle Covid-19.

She said: "Millers of Speyside, like other Scottish food businesses, has whole-heartedly embraced these measures and has followed all guidelines, to isolate the spread of infection, protecting the health and wellbeing of their workforce and the local community."

"We wish those who have been infected a speedy recovery."

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