158 coronavirus cases have now been confirmed at a UK chicken plant

Staff have been told to self-isolate for two weeks (Photo: Shutterstock)

A chicken processing plant in North Wales has confirmed an outbreak of 158 cases of coronavirus, health authorities have said.

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Production at the 2 Sisters factory in Llangefni, Anglesey, was stopped on Thursday 18 June, after the outbreak was declared, with staff told to self-isolate for two weeks.

An increase in cases

Public Health Wales said a further 83 confirmed positive cases were identified over the 24 hours leading up to 3pm on Sunday 21 June, bringing the total number of infections to 158.

The factory had previously only recorded 75 infections and targeted testing commenced at the plant last week.

Speaking about the outbreak, Dr Christopher Johnson, consultant in health protection at Public Health Wales, said, "Since we commenced targeted testing last Thursday, over 400 members of staff have provided samples so far.

“Testing of employees continues, and it is likely that some additional cases will be identified in the coming days."

On 18 June, the 2 Sisters Food Group announced that it was “doing the right thing” and would cease all work on the site for a period of 14 days with immediate effect.

The first case positive case of coronavirus was recorded at the plant on 28 May, and a full “safe ways of working” action plan has been in place since early March.

Production at the factory will now be transferred to other company locations until 2 July.

Further outbreaks around the UK

News of the growing number of cases in Anglesey comes following further coronavirus outbreaks at two other meat processing factories around the UK.

On 18 June, Rowan Food factory in Wrexham, North Wales, announced that 38 staff had tested positive for the virus, although bosses said the cases showed an increase in the locality rather than a spread within the site.

Kober Ltd near Cleckheaton in West Yorkshire - which is owned by Asda and provides the supermarket with bacon rashers and joints - also confirmed an outbreak on Friday 19 June. Asda has shut down the factory while the outbreak is being dealt with, and staff are currently self-isolating.

It is not currently known how many staff tested positive for coronavirus, or if there have been any hospitalisations or deaths as a result.

Around 100 contacts of workers have since been traced after a “small number” of cases.