The owners of a large meat processing plant in Derry have said that a 'small number' of employees have tested positive for Covid-19.
In many areas of the UK and Ireland, meat processing plants have been at the heart of local outbreaks of the disease.
The Derry News has learned that some workers at the Foyle Food Group's large beef-processing plant at Campsie have tested positive for Covid-19.
A spokesperson for the company said the relevant health authorities had been contacted.
“The Foyle Food Group are working in conjunction with the Public Health Agency and HSENI (Health and Safety Executive of Northern Ireland) to undertake testing of our employees at the Foyle Campsie site following a small number of employees at the site testing positive for Covid-19,” said the spokesperson.
“Testing may identify asymptomatic positive cases of Covid-19 in the workforce and these employees and their households will be advised to follow public health guidance to self-isolate protecting both our workforce and the wider local community.”
The HSENI confirmed that they are aware of the situation at the local meat plant.
A HSENI spokesperson said: “HSENI is aware of this matter and is currently working to address the concerns of staff and to ensure working conditions are safe for all employees,” said a spokesperson.
“We would remind all employers that they have a legal obligation to provide a safe working environment for their staff.
“If employees or trade unions have concerns they are encouraged to contact HSENI at email@example.com or 0800 0320 121.
“Where any organisation is dealing with an outbreak or a cluster of cases it should contact the Public Health Agency for advice and guidance on the steps it must take.”
SDLP Foyle MLA Sinead McLaughlin said she had spoken to some staff at Foyle Food Group's local plant who had concerns about working conditions there in relation to the Covid regulations.
She said it was 'absolutely essential' that all employers do what they can to protect their staff.
The latest figures released by the Department of Health yesterday showed that there have been 1,271 positive Covid-19 cases identified in the Derry City and Strabane District Council area in the seven day period from October 11 to October 17.
This represents a rate of 843.6 cases per 100,000 people.
This shows a decline in the local rate of cases, which was almost 1,000 at one stage last week.
However, the rate of cases in Derry and Strabane remains the highest by far of all the council areas in Northern Ireland.
Yesterday's Department of Health figures revealed that five more people have died in Northern Ireland after contracting Covid-19.
That brings to 615 the number of people who have died of the disease here.
On Sunday, the department reported 1,012 new cases of coronavirus. In the last seven days 7,090 people have tested positive.
As of yesterday, across Northern Ireland, 228 people with Covid-19 are in hospital. Thirty of them are in intensive care and 23 are ventilated.
New restrictions aimed at combating the spread of Covid-19 in Northern Ireland began on Friday.
They are to last four weeks.
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