More than 70 people have tested positive for coronavirus at a dessert factory in Nottinghamshire.

The outbreak was reported at Bakkavor in Newark, which describes itself as “the leading provider of fresh prepared food in the UK”.

The positive cases came after 701 workers were tested for the virus.

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All 1,600 employees will now receive coronavirus tests at a facility set up on site by the NHS.

Staff from other areas of the business will help the NHS upload test data into the service’s portal and make sure the tests are given to couriers on time.

Some 33 of those that have tested positive have since returned to work “fully fit” following a period of isolation.

Newark was recently made an “area of concern” on the list of local authorities that have a higher-than-average case rate for the virus.

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Shona Taylor, Business Director for Desserts at Bakkavor, said: “We understand the importance of the testing and I have been immensely proud of the management team and all the efforts that have been made to ensure we could deliver this for our colleagues.

“The programme has been positively received, and colleagues have been supportive and reassured that every effort is being taken to ensure their safety.”

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Jonathan Gribbin, director of public health at Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Bakkavor have been very co-operative and we hope that the testing of their employees will allow us to find out more about where people are acquiring the infection.

“However, we know that not all the cases in Newark are linked to Bakkavor so it is vital that people continue to follow the strict guidance to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 across the whole community.

“People should follow social distancing guidance in full including guidelines about car sharing, washing hands regularly, wearing face coverings, self-isolating and quickly getting a test if symptoms develop.”

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