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Britain’s biggest coronavirus testing laboratory has been hit by an outbreak of the virus, according to reports.
Staff members at The Milton Keynes Lighthouse Laboratory, in Buckinghamshire, are said to have tested positive and are self-isolating.
According to Sky News, positive tests for Covid-19 have been reported in three of the four scientific teams at the lab.
Administrative and warehouse workers at the site have also reportedly tested positive.
The site was the first in the UK to officially record the new, more transmissible Covid strain back in September, which led to Tier 4 restrictions being introduced.
One worker claimed there were repeated breaches of Covid safety rules at the lab, Sky News reports.
The outbreak has left around 20 staff members in one 70-person lab team currently isolating, a source told the broadcaster.
It comes after the UK’s Covid death toll rose by 574 on Christmas Eve to hit 69,625.
A further 39,036 cases were also recorded.
The lab, which was visited by Prime Minister Boris Johnson back in June, has been asked to process 70,000 tests a day.
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The source said 47,000 tests were processed at the Milton Keynes lab on Tuesday.
But the lab worker added: "No chance we'll ever hit 70,000 a day the way we're going.”
Rules introduced at the site to keep workers safe were also being broken in order to meet the targets, the source claimed.
This included the bubble system introduced to keep workers separate, which is allegedly being ignored with staff moved between groups.
But the Department of Health and Social Care denied this.
The source also claimed staff had been mixing in the lobbies and canteen, adding: “The whole thing’s a joke.”
The site was turned into a mass testing facility back in April in a bid to get Britain’s coronavirus crisis under control.
A spokesman for the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed it was aware of the outbreak.
In a statement, the spokesman said: "NHS Test and Trace continues to test record numbers of people and people can have confidence that if they have symptoms and need a test, they can get one.
"We are delivering an unprecedented volume of tests – more than 450,000 yesterday alone – and during periods of high demand our focus is ensuring that anyone with symptoms can get a test.
"All our test sites and our home test service will be available for bookings as normal over the Christmas period."
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