Coronavirus outbreak caused by car-sharing

At least 37 employees tested positive for Covid-19 forcing the temporary closure of the manufacturing plant owned by construction giant Balfour Beatty in July.


Car-sharing caused the coronavirus outbreak at a huge factory in Avonmouth, Bristol’s mayor has revealed. At least 37 employees tested positive for Covid-19 forcing the temporary closure of the manufacturing plant owned by construction giant Balfour Beatty in July.


Staff began returning to work in a phased reopening last month after a deep clean at the site, which is making nuclear-grade concrete segments for large tunnels being built under the Bristol Channel for Hinkley Point C power station in Somerset.


Responding to a question by ward Cllr Don Alexander about Bristol City Council's response to the outbreak, mayor Marvin Rees said in a written reply: “The majority of confirmed cases did not live locally and it is likely that the transmission happened as a result of car-sharing to and from work.


“Car-sharing has been identified as a Covid risk in a number of outbreaks across the country. 


“The company and employees were responsible and responsive, enabling the outbreak to be quickly identified, managed and controlled.”


Mr Rees said the emergency was jointly managed by Public Health England and the local authority using “standard, and well-practised, procedures for outbreak control”.


He added in his reply at Bristol City Council members’ forum on Tuesday (September 8): “The site was visited by environmental health officers and the Health and Safety Executive who were satisfied that the workplace has Covid-secure practice in place.”


Balfour Beatty shut the factory on July 24 as cases rose from an initial 19 of its 90 staff to 37 a week later.


The company used the NHS Test and Trace app and put in place extra measures to protect workers, including segregated entrance and exit points around the plant.

It said it was supporting employees who needed to self-isolate after displaying symptoms and that there had been no impact on its main construction programme of works.



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