LONDON: About 330 workers at three food processing plants in Wales have tested positive for COVID-19, the health minister of Wales said Wednesday.
Vaughan Gething, the Welsh minister for health and social services, warned that there is likely to be an increase in coronavirus cases as a result of the outbreaks at the three food plants, but he said there was no threat to food.
The minister said the outbreaks and local hotspots in other countries show that the meat and food processing sector is particularly susceptible to COVID-19.
"Coronaviruses thrives in cold, damp environments and it survives for longer indoors and particularly on smooth surfaces - a particular challenge for the meat processing sector," Gething said in a statement.
"We also know that many people employed in this sector are on basic minimum wage and levels of statutory sick pay mean many people feel they have no choice but to carry on working when they are ill."
"Cases of coronavirus are generally continuing to fall across Wales - we have seen fewer than 100 cases each day in the first few weeks of June. However we can expect to see some increases in cases as a result of these outbreaks. These outbreaks show that we all need to continue to take coronavirus very seriously - it has not gone away," Gething said.
Another 154 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain as of Tuesday afternoon, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 43,081, the British Department of Health and Social Care said Wednesday.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
As of Wednesday morning, 306,862 people have tested positive for the disease in Britain, a daily increase of 653, according to the department.