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image captionBy the mid-1950s, Bernard Matthews was producing 3,000 turkey eggs a year and had moved its headquarters to Great Witchingham Hall

Eighteen workers have tested positive for Covid-19 after an outbreak at a turkey processing plant.

Public health officials were brought in to test about 100 members of staff at the Bernard Matthews site in Holton, near Halesworth, Suffolk.

The firm said those confirmed to have coronavirus were self-isolating and most of them were living in the Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft area.

Additional testing is due to take place next week.

A joint statement from Bernard Matthews and Norfolk and Suffolk public health officials said food production and safety were unaffected at the plant, which employs about 1,000 people.

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The firm said it was continuing with regular temperature checks, staff working in bubbles, Covid-19 marshals, masks and visors, and social distancing throughout the site.

Stuart Keeble, Suffolk’s director of public health, said: “I’d like to reassure people that this is, at this stage, a relatively small number of cases and that the situation is being very carefully managed by all the partners working closely together.”

A spokesman for Bernard Matthews said: “We believe these small number of cases were initiated in the community, but nevertheless we will continue to enforce our robust Covid measures as we enter into our busiest period of the year.”

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