A coronavirus outbreak at the DVLA which saw 560 employees stricken with the disease has been declared officially over.
Following a multi-agency meeting held on Wednesday, February 24, Public Health Wales has announced there have been “no linked cases amongst staff at the Swansea contact centre within the last 28 days.”
However, with several members of staff still isolating at home with Covid-19, union leaders have stressed that the site remains unsafe, adding that they are balloting their members for strike action.
“All agencies have been working in close collaboration with the DVLA to reduce the number of cases in this workforce,” said Public Health Wales consultant Siôn Lingard.
“As a result of there being no linked cases amongst contact centre staff within the last 28 days, we can confirm that the decision has been taken to declare the outbreak over.
“We will continue to actively monitor the situation and the incident management team will continue to meet regularly and liaise with the DVLA.”
The DVLA said it had worked hard to implement safety mesaures
Confirmed at the Swansea offices back in December, the outbreak saw members of the 6,000-strong staff reveal they felt ‘scared’ to go to work and speak out against unhygienic conditions and lack of social distancing at the site, which had as many as 100 people working together on the same floor.
One employee also died during the same period, it’s thought after testing positive for Covid-19 – prompting calls for a full investigation to take place.
But DVLA Chief Executive Officer Julie Lennard said the health of staff remained its top priority, adding that management had worked “extremely hard” since the very start of the pandemic to implement and maintain safety measures in accordance with Welsh Government guidance.
“The contact centre has been COVID free since January 25 with no cases there for over a month,” she added.
“Currently six members of staff, out of a workforce of more than 6,000, have tested positive and are currently isolating at home. These include two staff who are working from home.
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“We will continue to work with Public Health Wales, Swansea Council and Swansea Bay Health Board to keep our site Covid-19 secure.”
Nevertheless, the PCS union continued to voice its concern.
“With six live Covid-19 cases it is clearly not safe to have thousands of staff forced to go into the workplace daily,” said a spokesperson.
“DVLA has had over 500 cases of Covid since September 2020, including a tragic death of a staff member who tested positive with it.
“Staff numbers need to be drastically reduced and we are balloting our members for strike action and we urge DVLA senior management to listen to the union.”