TWO of the three workers who fled a farm locked down following a coronavirus outbreak have made contact with health officials – but one is still on the run.
The pair – one of whom tested positive for the virus before they fled the outbreak in Mathon, Hertfordshire – say they are “self-isolating”, but have not revealed where.
There is still a heavy police presence around the farm where all 220 workers have been told to isolate in mobile homes.
The pair who escaped contacted officials at Public Health England earlier today, the government agency said.
A PHE spokesperson told Sun Online: “Two of the missing three phoned us to say they are self-isolating and they are safe.
They said they left the farm because they felt weirded out by the lockdown and wanted to get away
“They said they left the farm because they felt weirded out by the lockdown and wanted to get away. It is understandable.
"We’ve all spent so long in lockdown and sometimes it can just leave you feeling freaked out.
“They did not say where they are or where the third person is. We still want to find or hear from that third person.
“We are pleased to hear from the other two and to know they are safe.”
It comes after The Sun reported that workers on the farm went on a shopping trip to Primark and three supermarkets days before 75 tested positive.
There are now fears infected workers at AS Green and Co could have unwittingly spread the virus after going on a shopping spree in nearby Worcester and Malvern.
It was confirmed by North Herefordshire MP Bill Wiggin that staff members were taken by minibus to Worcester where they shopped in the city's Primark store.
The group also shopped in the Iceland supermarket and the Romanian store in the city before being driven to a Morrisons supermarket in Malvern.
Dr. Kathryn Cobain, Director for Public Health in Worcestershire said in a statement: “ There is a great deal of data gathering being undertaken by our Public Health colleagues in Herefordshire.
"We are working closely with them to fully understand the situation. Shoppers and staff in the stores visited by the farm workers are not at any increased risk of Covid-19.
"Our environmental health teams have been assisting businesses to follow the correct Covid-19 health and safety guidance. This is to ensure shoppers can visit stores with confidence.
"If you are washing your hands regularly, keeping your distance and using face coverings where necessary, you protect yourself and others.”
It comes after four of the vegetable pickers – allegedly including three infected with the killer bug – fled the farm, as revealed by The Sun yesterday.
Two left on Saturday – one of whom was positive – and two more infected with the virus fled today.
It is believed they legged it across the fields, with Herefordshire County Council confirming several workers had fled the farm – but claimed three not four workers had absconded – and insisted only one of them had tested positive for coronavirus.
And now panic has set in for the disproportionate amount of elderly people who live close to the farm, home to one of the largest outbreak of its kind in the UK since the pandemic began.
Of the 3,000 people living in the villages within a three-miles radius of the farm, two thirds of them are aged 65 or older.
One, a 72-year-old retired man, said: “We’re terrified. The scientists are now saying this virus can survive in the air for hours.
“Very few people my age are going outdoors now because they don’t want to catch it. We’re all staying indoors until it’s safe again.
“It’s crazy. We spent four months in lockdown and just as it ends, we’ve found ourselves going back into voluntary lockdown.”
At the farm, owned by vegetable tycoons Andrew and Caroline Green, telecommunications specialists spent the day fitting boosters to improve broadband access for the locked-down workers so they can keep in contact with the outside world.
According to MP Mr Wiggin, testing was conducted after one worker fell ill on July 7.
The first case was allegedly recorded by farm owners AS Green and Co on Wednesday last week.
Five more tested positively the next day and by the weekend, when the farm was locked down, 72 cases had tested positive. Today the figure is 75.
Authorities previously raised concern workers made regular trips to a Morrisons store in nearby Malvern.
Herefordshire Council is arranging food and essential supplies for residents on the site.
A spokesperson for Iceland said: "Our store colleagues in Worcester have no recollection of this group visiting the store.
"We are confident that the store is following all company guidelines for social distancing, hygiene and operating processes to ensure a safe environment for colleagues and customers alike."
A Primark spokesperson said: "Nothing is more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of our customers and employees, and we have extensive safety measures in place across all our stores, including a strict social distancing protocol, personal protection for employees and customers and increased in-store cleaning.
"We are keeping the situation under constant review in line with government guidance.”
Morrisons has also been contacted for comment.
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