Halifax call centre closes after worker tests positive for coronavirus as 1,000 staff sent home to self-isolate

HALIFAX Bank has shut down a call centre and sent 1,000 staff home to self-isolate after a worker tested positive for coronavirus.

A call centre in Belfast has been closed for deep cleaning in the Gasworks area of the city centre.

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It is understood staff have been asked to self-isolate, work from home or from a contingency site.

Lloyds Banking Group, which owns Halifax, said: "The Belfast Gasworks building has been temporarily closed to allow for the appropriate areas of the site to be cleaned, after a colleague based there was diagnosed with Covid-19.

"Our priority is the wellbeing of the individual, as well as the colleagues and visitors to the building. We're closely monitoring the developing situation and continue to follow official guidelines."

The Belfast Gasworks building has been temporarily closed to allow for the appropriate areas of the site to be cleaned, after a colleague based there was diagnosed with Covid-19.

It comes as Professor Francois Balloux of the University College London has said Italy's lockdown method could be "adopted by the UK", as the epidemic in the UK is so far "roughly comparable" to the one in northern Italy.

He said: “The trajectory in the UK is so far roughly comparable to the one in northern Italy, but with the epidemic [there] two to three weeks ahead of the situation [here].

“It is possible that a lockdown strategy similar to the one imposed in northern Italy may be adopted by the UK. The Covid-19 epidemic cannot be contained any more.”

UK OUTBREAK

Dr Jenny Harris, deputy chief medical officer, fears thousands of Brits will be infected over the next week.

She said: “The chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser say there’s likely to be more cases.

“We will have significant numbers in the way that the country is not used to.

“We will see many thousands of people infected by coronavirus, that’s what we’re seeing in other countries.

We will see many thousands of people infected by coronavirus, that’s what we’re seeing in other countries.

“Make sure elderly and those with underlying conditions get into hospital and get treatment.

“Sporting events outside, important for people to understand that in an open air environment, you’re out in the open, that reduces the life length of the virus, the risk drops.

“Stand two metres apart if you want to reduce the risk."

We will see many thousands of people infected by coronavirus, that’s what we’re seeing in other countries.

Dr Jenny Harris
It comes after any Brit with a cold, cough, sniffle or fever will be told to stay at home for a week to help halt the spread of the disease.

BRITAIN 'FACES ITALY-STYLE LOCKDOWN'

– Public events banned

– Cinemas closed

– Pubs and nightclubs shut

– Funerals and weddings cancelled

– Sporting matches cancelled

– Schools and universities closed

– Travel between cities only permitted for emergency reasons

– Checkpoints on motorways, tolls, train stations and airports

The dramatic step is set to be taken in around ten days’ time as the killer bug threatens to explode in the UK.

The Covid-19 death toll in the UK has risen to five after a woman in her 70s died from the virus while being treated at St Helier Hospital in Sutton, South London.

There have been 321 confiremed cases of the deadly bug on our shores – with 18 people recovering.

The St Patrick's Day festivities in Belfast are among events which have been axed amid efforts to contain spread of the virus.

On Monday, Stormont Health Minister Robin Swann warned that between 50% and 80% of the population could ultimately contract the coronavirus in a worst case scenario.






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