Taxi driver linked to new COVID-19 outbreak in north-east UK town

Updated: Aug 8, 2020

More access to testing will be made available after a further increase in coronavirus cases in Middlesbrough. A total of 28 cases have now been confirmed this week, after a further nine positive tests were reported on Friday.

It is believed all the cases are linked to a takeaway restaurant and a taxi in the local area. Contacts of those who have tested positive are being traced and advised to isolate for 14 days.

The Council and Public Health England’s North East Health Protection team are in the process of contacting anyone who used a taxi linked to someone who tested positive.

The taxi, which has not been used since 25 July, was fitted with a protective screen when in use and the taxi company is providing details of any passengers who need to be contacted.

The Council also investigated a suggested link between someone who had tested positive and a town centre takeaway business and decided no further public health action is required at this stage.

A mobile testing unit will be in place on Saturday and Sunday to encourage more people in the town to be tested. The unit will be positioned in a Teesside University car park, Centuria South, accessed from Wilton Street. The site will be open from 10am until 4pm.

South Tees Director of Public Health Mark Adams has confirmed the university is not linked to the outbreak and has thanked the organisation for its support.

Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston said: “We’re responding decisively to a small outbreak of cases.

“This uptick in COVID in the town shows that everyone needs to be careful, but there’s no need to panic.

“It’s positive that we will have extra testing in place this weekend. We’ll continue to do all we can to keep people safe. I’d urge everyone to play their part too. Please wear a face covering in public places, continue to wash your hands regularly and keep your distance from others when out and about.”

In addition to the mobile testing unit that is due to be deployed, anyone with symptoms can book a test at the unused Sainsbury’s site close to the Riverside Stadium.

The site is open from 8am until 8pm seven days a week and can test 800 people per day. People can book a test online or by calling 119.

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