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Coventry ripening centre update

25.08.2020

In the past month, three employees at Fyffes Coventry were feeling unwell and got tested for COVID-19 and those tests came back positive. Between 3 August and 14 August, we confirmed a further 11 positive cases amongst our employees. Through contact tracing, Fyffes management identified a further 26 employees; we asked them to self-isolate. We informed the local authorities straightaway who have provided immediate assistance.

With their support we tested the remaining 182 employees and we can now confirm that 25 out of 182 test results came back testing positive for the virus. The employees who tested positive were asymptomatic. The original three employees who were feeling unwell have recovered fully.

Although the majority of results came back negative, as a precaution we suspended normal operations for 48 hours. The site reopened for normal business activity as of the morning of Wednesday 19 August. During the 48-hour closure, we conducted an additional deep cleaning of the entire workplace, and enhanced disinfection measures were undertaken with support from a small skeleton staff, as agreed with public health officials. Nothing is more important than the health and safety of our people.

Since March, across our ripening centres in the UK, we have implemented social distancing, regular deep-cleaning and provided PPE. Throughout this process we have supported our employees financially to ensure they are not disadvantaged by following government guidelines and best practice in the management of this virus.  Coventry City Council, the HSE and Public Health England have been extremely helpful and supportive throughout and they told us that they are satisfied with the measures we have in place. We looked at and implemented additional preventative measures and we continually remind employees to be additionally vigilant in following government guidelines both at home and at work. 

We have robust business continuity plans which have been invoked and we are confident that we can continue to supply bananas to our customers with minimal disruption. All our customers have been extremely accommodating and supportive and mindful of employee welfare throughout. Our products are healthy, safe and nutritious and research indicates the virus cannot be spread via fruit.

We would like to thank all our employees for their ongoing commitment and support. We wish any employees affected a speedy recovery and urge anyone reading this statement to follow best practice and government guidelines in order to reduce the risk of infection.