Coronavirus: Newton Aycliffe factory closes after staff contract Covid-19

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Husqvarna plant in Newton AycliffeImage source, Google
Image caption,
The company had initially said it could not rule out closing

A lawnmower company has closed its UK factory for a 10-day deep clean after employees contracted Covid-19.

Husqvarna in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, confirmed there had been 18 cases at the plant.

It said distancing measures and strict cleaning routines were in place to allow safe working but will now close after Friday's final shift.

Conservative MP for Sedgefield Paul Howell said constituents had raised concerns about "transmission issues".

The Swedish-owned company had told him they were undertaking "close monitoring of the operation of their facility", he said.

"Husqvarna have taken the voluntary decision to go into a 10-day shutdown period to facilitate a premises wide deep clean," he said.

The company said on Thursday that employees who had tested positive for Covid-19 were either already at home or were sent home as soon as they became unwell and had not been on site since.

It could not rule out having to close, it said.

In recent weeks workforce numbers had been reduced and measures such as widened walkways, one-way systems and additional facilities had been introduced to maintain distancing, it said.

Mr Howell said these measures had been confirmed by the site's union representative.

Husqvarna had invited the Health and Safety Executive to inspect its premises, he said.

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