IKEA sends home 73 workers after mass coronavirus outbreak at store

The outbreak took place at an IKEA store in Reading (Image: Google)

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IKEA has sent home 73 workers following a coronavirus outbreak at one of its stores.

The employees were forced to self-isolate after 13 people tested positive for the killer virus.

They have been sent home while another 60 have been told they can't work because they could be at risk via the NHS Track and Trace app.

The outbreak has been confirmed at the branch of the Swedish flat-pack giant in Reading, Berks.

The store is currently closed to the public due to the month-long Government lockdown.

But it is open for customers who shop online to use their click and collect service.

The store – which has been hit by queuing problems since it opened in 2016 – employs up to 350 staff.

Dozens of employees at the branch were told to self-isolate
(Image: Google Street View)

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Kim Chin-Sung, IKEA Reading Market Manager, said: "The health and safety of our customers and co-workers is our top priority.

"We have extremely robust safety measures in place, including social distancing, protective screens and additional regular cleaning.

"On Saturday, we were made aware that a co-worker had tested positive for Covid-19.

"Shortly after this, other co-workers began receiving alerts from the NHS Track and Trace System in the normal way, and were immediately sent home to self-isolate on full pay."

Last month, Haribo confirmed 30 of its employees who worked at its factory in West Yorkshire had tested positive for coronavirus.

In a statement the company said it had gone "above and beyond" the Government's guidance.

However, it was the second outbreak at the Haribo site in as many weeks.

The company said: "We can confirm that there is a cluster of cases, with 30 colleagues testing positive for Covid-19 at our Pontefract site.

"Each individual and those that have been in close contact are now self-isolating.

"We continue to work with the Environmental Health Office and Public Health England.

"Both have been notified and have confirmed that the processes, controls, and measures we have in place are more than satisfactory.

"As a business, we continue to go above and beyond the Government's guidance and follow strict internal standards around the health, safety and well-being of our colleagues, which is our top priority."

It comes after at least 140 people have been infected by coronavirus in a major outbreak at a meat processing factory.

Norfolk County Council said there had been a "significant outbreak" of Covid-19 at the Cranswick Country Foods site in Watton.

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